Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday morning, I woke up thinking of a blog post and then all day, I couldn't remember it. But this morning, I woke up at 5:42 and remembered. I can't go back to sleep if I wake up any minutes after 5:00. It's a curse, but in this case a gift, because that itchy feeling of can't remember finally got scratched.

I remembered because the light from the neighbor's dining room chandelier fell into the bedroom like a sun coming up. It is strange to me, living in the rural town that is Flagstaff, that I've never had a nearer backyard neighbor. At least not since I was one and my parents and I lived in the Sandpiper apartments off Van Winkle Boulevard. My parents moved next to a house behind a mortuary. No one there left lights on all night or woke up early. We moved next to a house that backed a cemetery. No one there woke up at all. After that, we lived on a big block with a huge plot of land in the middle of it. Eventually, the Church built a Stakehouse there but the worst noise there was basketball on Friday mornings. My dorm room at Reed backed the Student Union but my room was high enough that the light from my room fell down on them, not the other way around. On 37th Street, our house was on a hill. Again, my light trickled down. On 7812 SE Woodstock, I don't remember the house behind us but it didn't matter because the house was lower than the fence and the windows below the weeds that grew tall in that backyard. On 26th Street--tall fence. On Cora, our big lot-sized garden grew outside my window. Then, when I bought the house on Brooklyn Street, the cherry tree and fig tree blocked the neighbor's light. On G. Street, in Salt Lake, the lot was double-long and the house behind was so far away that I was never sure anyone actually lived there. When we moved to Grand Rapids, the houses were close together. We shared a driveway with Beth, who lived next door. The light from her bedroom could have flooded our bedroom, but she kept her blinds closed. Our backyard again was far away from the neighbor's backyard, the houses infilled side by side rather than back to back.
It is strange, then that my current backyard neighbors, in this big-lot sized neighborhood, in a forest-filled town, are the ones who bug me. There house sits directly behind ours, matching window for window. We have no fence and the Ponderosa Pines are too tall to block any light. Thankfully, our big deck is on the side of the house, we we're not fully exposed but the backyard feels like their backyard. When they're on their deck, we can hear every word. They have no blinds. I have blinds and curtains in the bed room and yet, in the morning, and sometimes all night, the light from their 118,000 watt chandelier falls through the bedroom window, making me think the sun is coming up, which wakes me up for once and for all.


radagast said...

I've been doing the 5 a.m. wake up thing too, lately. I decided that, rather than lie there hoping to return to that one Julia Roberts dream, I would get up and go for a walk. I live close enough to the mountains that I can imagine I'm on a springtime hike up Neff's Canyon, but also much too close to other houses, which I have come to identify, even in the darkness, sadly, by the Candle Breeze scents that reach clear out to the road. Gack!

Lisa B. said...

5 a.m. is a good time to wake up for SOME people but not for me, and that chandelier seems like an act of aggression. Why should you have to give up the sun waking you up because the chandelier-ites have no good manners about their egregious lightitude?

Nik said...

Radagast. Doesn't the candle breeze phenomena require it's own post? I see those ads and I wonder what smells so bad it needs so much Glade.
And Lisa B. I need you on my side. Thank you.