Seven times now since we moved into this house, I’ve had to lift the screen on that tall, narrow window, hang out over the sill and reach for the bulb that has burnt out. The floodlight is not directly under the bedroom window so unscrewing the used bulb requires a stretch off to the right. I then have the use of only one hand to grip the wide end of the bulb, unscrew it and keep a hold on it at the same time, and then slide it out of the fixture attached to the brick wall of the house.
Inserting the new bulb requires the same procedures in reverse – still with only one hand while I use the other to secure myself by the window sill.
It is a strange feeling to have half of me outside a second-floor window looking down at the walkway along that side of our house and then to look out at the upper halves of the neighboring trees. None of the usual perspectives are there to ground me and steady me. I am surely an odd sight high in the wall to anyone who might be passing on the sidewalk or even in a car – like something out of a medieval miniature.
If the perspectives available to me from that window are not usual, neither are they unwelcome. They are a little breathtaking, in fact. I manage to keep a grip – literally and figuratively. I get my task done and all returns to normal in a few minutes, but during that minute or two I am precariously poised. It is a precariousness from which I derive a yearly assurance that I am still capable of these physical stretches, still capable of balance in slightly unusual circumstances.
My reward is for about twelve months of evenings to be able to enjoy a view from the first-floor windows of our library. During these weeks of New England autumn I get to watch brightly lit green leaves turn to brightly etched red and gold. During winter snow storms I can sit in an overstuffed chair in our library with the lamps off and sink into reverie at the sight of thick wet flakes steadily showering through the floodlight’s illumination. Some sleepless nights find me standing in robe and pajamas before a view of the bare branches of the trees near our house.
Let it go on the record that Marc does not share the excitement that the floodlight’s effects can produce in me. He listens to my occasional rhapsodies about the leaves, the branches, the rain drops, the glow with which one year-long bulb quietly and steadily outlines the nighttime scene outside the windows. He can even laugh good-naturedly at the news that I am writing a post about our floodlight.
I am still eager for the nightly show, though. I will probably walk through the library tonight when our dinner guests have left and I will turn off the lamps as we shut the house down at bedtime and I will register that the freshly replaced bulb is doing its job.
I just like it.
Photo uploaded on Flickr by frasierspeirs