Monday, June 6, 2011

When A View Is Not A View

I have spoked of my apartment view often in the past, perhaps a bit too often. Please note there have been no pictures from my window since I returned to the apartment after the remodel. Speaking of the remodel, while I have been back in the apartment for over two months the final piece of the remodeling was completed just a week ago - the window treatment as the decorators like to refer to it. Or the blinds as us normal folk say.

You see the apartment has a stretch of windows nearly 25 feet across. Big windows from the ceiling to about three feet above the floor. A huge amount of glass, the aforementioned panoramic view and in the afternoon a whole big bunch of sunlight. Without something on the windows there would be no working in the afternoon or early evening as the view is due west and blindingly bright. And, of course, I have my desk right up against the windows so the view is always right there for me to enjoy, ponder and meditate upon. Temperature is only an issue a dozen days a year in the temperate northern california climate, light is the really big concern. So I lobbied for and got vertical blinds. They can stand up to being adjusted as often as five or six times every day, I can tweak them to block light but still let me have the view. Sturdy, functional slats unlike those flimsy running material sheer blinds that look so elegant, but block the view entirely and can't stand up to heavy duty usage day after day.

An interesting thing happened the first day the blinds were in. I closed them and the apartment became a completely different space. The huge view draws me out, the immense wall of blocking blinds wombs me in. The word "cave" will have popped into several of my friends thoughts about now, yes I have my cave again. But the visuals out the windows are compelling and now malleable. I can completely block the light streaming over the desk and still have wide open views both right and left. I can tweak the openings between the slats to limit light but still keep the view (amazing what binocular vision and the human brain can do with partial information). And, yes, the hibernating bear can close off the view entirely and retreat into the cave - after all Plato did it.
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photo: sfgate.com

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