By Lois Vidaver
If ever we move, and it will certainly be to downsize, I will most certainly miss my room with a view. This second-floor home office, flying high over the yards of our backyard neighbors, is actually better than some workplaces I have had in “real” jobs.
I remember one in particular when I first began teaching special education in Ohio. The principal took me to see my digs. We stood at the top of a steep staircase staring down at a grimy door of the basement furnace room. Sitting in front of the door was a small table with two chairs. This was my office. He was embarrassed.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “but there is really no other spot in the building we can put you and your students.”
I gulped and said, “I’m sure it will be fine.” And it was.
Probably the most trying space I had to work in was a part-time one at a learning center. I always loved the job of teaching special-needs children, but the four-hour stints made me feel claustrophobic.
There were two bookcases, four tables, four students and four teachers packed into an incredibly small room. There were no windows, of course, but lots of kid smells – very pungent at times.
Not only is my current space closer to heaven, but to nature as well. This winter, on the days that we have had snow, I have checked each morning for signs of rabbits and squirrels in the backyard using my little “animal tracks” booklet. At times I am convinced I see the imprint of deer hooves. Really? In Tonawanda?
I have also discovered persistent squirrel tracks leading right into our patio. Yes, we have one living in the rafters. Will he eat through the shingles? Some things I’d rather not witness.
In other seasons, I have a view of people’s gardens. I watched a wooden swing set convert through the years from a child’s playground to a decorative arbor dripping with hanging flowers.
The neighbors behind us added a fire pit, and the smell of burning wood floating up through the windows is a welcome scent.
In other yards, children have outgrown their playthings and a pool and trampoline now stand silent.
At times, I have looked down and watched a drama unfold. One day I watched the activity of a teenage neighbor obviously locked out of her house. Surveying a back window, which was closed, she got closer and discovered it was just too tall for her to reach up and open.
She turned to the garage and wheeled the garbage tote over to the window; the top of it was just about even with the sill. Then she tried to climb onto the tote. No go; it was too tall for her.
I thought about going down and calling across the fence: “I can get a chair for you to use.” But, I don’t know, it was so interesting to see what would happen next that I just sat glued to my seat.
She walked to a spot away from the window, flexed her body and sprinted toward the tote. No luck. She wasn’t able to quite reach the top and slid down onto the grass again.
I studied her. Get back further toward the fence, I coached silently, and run harder. She must have heard me because that’s exactly what she did, then easily opened the window and slid through it.
I’ll tell you, this is the best office I’ve ever had. It’s like a silent movie unfolding in front of me as I wonder each morning what scenario that day will open up to me.