Last night I did something I haven’t done in months: I opened my windows. A mild breeze swept in to cool me as I slept, and for a time I heard the patter of raindrops. The roof over my head kept me dry, of course, but I could imagine myself under a hanging tarp, comfortable outside.
Richard Adams, in Watership Down, writes, “Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it.” I can’t argue with him – I certainly love playing outside in the winter, but only dressed in layers and with an escape plan should I get too cold. As my hemisphere turns back toward the sun, I get to shed my protections and treat the outdoors as an extension of my living space.
I’ve discussed before how the dining room is redundant in many American lifestyles, where people tend to eat in the kitchen or another informal space. (Full disclosure: I’m writing this from my dining room, which doubles as my office.) Already lots of new homes, including Colin’s, get built without a separate dining room. As portable devices replace TVs and stereos as a primary source of entertainment, the living room might be next to go. What’s all that space for, when we’re more inclined to watch Youtube or listen to Pandora from the palm of our hands… or, better yet, put down the electronics entirely and go for a walk? Maybe all we need is a cozy stove to gather ‘round in the colder months, and a place to sit beside it.