Where I Live

August 5, 2017


What I want to remember about this apartment is how upstairs feels like a tree house.

Upstairs the windows are 6 feet tall, but the views are covered in foliage. There is no view of the horizon, all three sides of the apartment face a fence or wall, but there are trees that grow right up against the building which makes you feel like you can step outside and stay perched above the ground. The sun comes blazing in through those big windows from mid-morning through mid-afternoon, baking the rooms and making the summer heat that much more unbearable. But it also means you can stare out any window and watch the sunlight filter through the trees or see a bird settled on a branch.

What I want to remember about this apartment is how downstairs feels like a cave. The ceilings feel low, the entryway has two steps down into the living room, and all of the light is filtered or oblique. The lack of natural light has put a major damper on my photography this last year, but I’m grateful for it as it keeps the downstairs cool, dark and comfortable in the oppressive summer heat.

What I want to remember about this apartment is how new everything felt when we first moved in and now some of it is showing wear. How pregnancy and new parenthood made us forget to vacuum corners or dust shelves until the baby stick her hand in a pile of cobwebs. How her arrival brought so much crap into the house, it’s all I can do to not fill garbage bags of stuff for donation bins. With my energy finally returning postpartum, I’ve gone on one manic spring cleaning streak and I know the fall will usher in an urge to purge, organize and nest.

What I want to remember about this place is how quiet the neighborhood is. There is no through traffic, no stop lights, no noise from the highway. You can hear dogs barking a mile away or conversations happening next door. Most of our neighbors have 20 years on us.

What I want to remember about this living is that we’re surrounded by nature. Coyotes, mountain lion, hawks, lizards, rabbits, raccoons, and rattle snakes, plus the usual birds, squirrels and snails. Being on the back-end of a state park has its advantages.

What I want to remember about this part of Los Angeles is the amount of park space. Malibu Creek State Park, Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory and other park land surrounds us. We have three trail heads in walking distance of our front door. Because of this, we also have views of rolling hills and land where development has yet to bulldoze in and pour concrete. Sadly, though, there are construction sites at either end of our neighborhood, so real estate is having its way. Luckily, city park space is already zoned and safe – dog runs, easy hiking trails, baseball fields and playgrounds are accessible and plentiful.

Our lease is up in a year. I don’t know how much longer we’ll live in this space, this community or even Los Angeles. We dream of even more woods, nature, space, and seasons. We dream of bringing A up outdoors as much as possible. The next location isn’t on our radar yet, so in the meantime, I’ll enjoy this all as much as possible.

For the month of August, I am posting each day using a prompt from The August Break challenge by Susannah Conway. The prompts encourage a “month of paying attention” which goes hand-in-hand with my new moon intention to focus on my creativity. I’m sharing all my photos on Instagram with #jtaugustbreak

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