We renovated a little, mid-century condo in Seattle over the summer, and moved in Labor Day weekend. My desk is in the dining room, looking out into one of the biggest Japanese maple trees I've ever seen. The tree does partially block the view of Elliott Bay, but it shades the condo in the summer, and after the leaves drop in the next few weeks, we'll have more light and views during the winter months.
I love the leafy dynamism of living virtually in the tree - squirrels and crows look in the window at the dog and me, curious about what we're up to so near their tree. The tree magnifies light and weather effects; its branches thrash about in the wind, its leaves drip and droop in the rain, and glisten in the sun. The tree is so vibrantly alive as it masks the street, its leaves protecting my privacy while allowing views out and filtered light in. We need all the nature we can get in the city, and the tree gives us such a satisfying dose of it year-round, up-close.
Even though the tree was a big selling point, helping convince me it'd be worthwhile to buy, sell, renovate and move, I had no idea it would become such a living, growing, breathing part of the experience of working and writing in the new apartment...I'm working on a story about the condo renovation for Pacific Northwest magazine, but in the meantime...here's my desk, and leafy view, with a crow friend on the deck railing (bottom photo) peering in...
Coral bark maple leaves inside, cut for the vase, living Japanese maple leaves outside..