Sometimes the light catches you off-guard. Like today, February 1st, coming into your study to work on the first part of the book you’ve decided to write with your husband about building the house you live in, the one in which you raised your children, the one where you hope you can spend the rest of your life, though it’s far from services and the sorts of things people need as they age.
But just now, the light in the corner:
That photograph in the wooden frame is one of the only images you have of your grandparents (your father between them), though the sunlight has dazzled the glass. The edge of the big window. Two stars on the blue ceiling inspired by Giotto’s decorations in the Scrovegni Chapel. The light drew you in and made you realize how much you love this room. Everything in it has meaning—the maps, the photographs, the rocks functioning as bookends on your desk (two heavily fossiled, one from mountains surround the Great Salt Lake in Utah and one from Sandcut Beach, west of Sooke). In this light even the cobwebs are beautiful.
You wrote the first page of the house-building book a little while ago and on the plans your husband drew and blue-printed, this room was a guest-room. And yes, it was, at first. There was a sofa-bed that ended up accompanying one child to university and what, disappearing at the end of the term? You had a desk here, a small one tucked under the window Now guests sleep in the abandoned rooms at the back of the house and you never need to tidy your desk—a long pine table—when people come; you can simply close the door. But right now, the light is so beautiful, it has something of spring in it, and it floods out of the room and into the hall, some of it filtering through the stained-glass window given to you by Ann York when you announced you were going to build a house together.
The other evening you were sitting by the fire at 6 p.m. and the sky wasn’t yet dark. It was a February sky, though it wasn’t yet February. Deep blue, a few bright stars, a jet trail in the far west. You think of Emily Dickinson this time of year:
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here
A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.
It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.
It does. It almost speaks to you.