Now, the cedar waxwing


Here in Texas, I get to spend time in a room with light on all four sides. Why is this important?

Architect Christopher Alexander wrote in his seminal work Pattern Language (formative to Karen’s practice and art, and instructional from which I derive metaphors both helpful and fun but also useless):

When they have a choice, people will always gravitate to those rooms which have light on two sides, and leave the rooms which are lit only from one side unused and empty. Therefore: Locate each room so that it has outdoor space outside it on at least two sides, and then place windows in these outdoor walls so that natural light falls into every room from more than one direction.

Sure enough, if you work in a space that has light emanating from only one side or at the end of a long length of room, you will feel a certain way. (Karen often told me that architecture and design are more about how you feel than how it looks.) If you are in windowless room, after a time, you will most likely eat the closest animal.

In the aforementioned room, I am able to wake up to birds singing, and I enjoy sunrise and sunset at their appointed times.

This was true when we lived on West 84th Street, where we were fortunate to have a covet-worthy deck, usable from March to late November. In Kerrville, I have a room with light on all sides, walkable from downtown, allowing my neighbors to see me working off my belly flab in the morning, and a covered porch, from which I can see the sunset over the hills toward Medina.


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