There is definitely something to be said for living up high and having an aerial view of one’s surroundings. I feel sometimes as though I were perched up in a tree, in a bird’s nest, if you will, surveying the landscape from a vantage point that others are not privy to. I’ve lived in first-floor apartments that provided me with not much more than a flat, dull and rather limiting horizontal perspective of other buildings and streets and from where, if I needed loftier inspiration, I was forced to look up or find a hill to look down from. But here from the window overlooking the pond, the small deck overlooking the woods, and the window fronting the road and the forest beyond, I can gaze out across my little queendom, where I keep a sharp eye out for whatever nature decides to send my way. And at no time of year is the view ever lacking in interest.
From here, I’ve seen a doe foraging just below the porch, nuzzling last year’s leaves for remnants of corn that the blue jays knocked down from the feeder bowl. On the first day of deer hunting season, I saw a doe, perhaps the same one, emerge frantically along the road not long after I’d seen a few hunters, clad in unmistakable fluorescent orange, enter the woods. Turkeys are also frequent visitors, looking for whatever might be hidden beneath a thin crust of snow. I’ve gotten up at midnight and been treated to the sight of a raccoon on the deck or peered out to see a fox scurry through the yard in the moonlight. And of course, I always thrill to the sight of the Canada geese as they leave the water for a few moments to inspect the shoreline for whatever they might be missing there.
I’ve watched the prim and proper mourning doves walk daintily across the back lawn below me, breakfasting in style, and slate-colored juncoes and chipping sparrows following suit. I’ve seen bald eagles perched in the top of a dead pine; watched as, day after day, they brought twigs and other materials to build a nest in another nearby tree; and observed them walking across the snow-covered pond in search of fish that might appear at an open hole in the ice. I’ve seen great blue herons standing statue-like in a nearby cove or soar literally just feet from my window, and ospreys wheeling over the pond on a summer day. I’ve watched crows in the trees scouting the area out to make sure it’s safe before plummeting to the ground for the bread I’ve scattered there, and hawks and turkey vultures circling overhead, ever vigilant to movements below.
On any given day, I sit here in my private space, removed from the bustle of the rest of the world, and behold the drama unfolding both above and below and that usually rates some recognition and surely documentation in the form of photo or written word. I’ve watched as, slowly, the clouds assemble themselves just right for a spectacular sunset and the full harvest moon rises high across the pond, casting an unearthly and magical glow across the shimmering water. I’ve watched squirrels frolicking along tree branches and up and down trunks, their tails flicking, their movements quick and sure as they leap and dangle, able acrobats that they are, from twig to twig. In the spring, I sense the awakening all around me on all sides, and in the fall, feel the same downward pull toward the end of another year of seasons.
I’m a bit closer to the sky here in my aerie, closer to the clouds and to the sun’s warmth. I’m up where birds fly and perch, and nearer the stars and moon at night. I dance with snowflakes and peer between raindrops, flutter with butterflies and drift in autumn with the leaves. Or perhaps it just seems that way by virtue of a child-like imagination and sense of wonderment that have never left me. On hot summer days, the mosquitoes don’t seem to fly up this high, and the cooler breezes always manage to find me. I’m many years removed from the time when I believed that, if I thought happy thoughts, I would be able to fly. I don’t think this is exactly what Peter Pan had in mind, but to me, it’s the next best thing.