In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. …It was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.
In the weeks leading up to our marriage, my now husband and I were provided with the opportunity to rent a basement apartment from some friends at a great price. Since we were both unemployed (and still are!) we saw this as a wonderful opportunity. The apartment was mostly furnished, came with all of the necessary appliances, and had a private entry that would allow us to be totally separate from the main house. We took the deal.
Only later did we realize that the private entry was not a walkout, but a basement door that came with it’s own set of outdoor stairs. The apartment, which is otherwise perfect in every way, is entirely below ground – in the entire floor plan there are only two tiny egress windows to let us know when the sun has risen or set, and what the weather might be like above our heads. For a sun-lover like me, the thought of living somewhere with such windows long-term was entirely depressing.
When we reached the apartment last week, we discovered that one of the tiny “windows” is in the bedroom, and the previous inhabitants had covered it with a cardboard cut out for lack of curtain. I nearly panicked when closer inspection revealed that the children who’d lived here had clumsily drawn their sprawling interpretations of the sun, moon, and stars, and labeled the heavenly bodies with awkward letters. Was I moving into a dungeon, where the only way to remember natural light was to draw pictures of the spheres that gave them?
I wasn’t, though, as I discovered on the first morning when I saw the gray light that filled the great room. There wasn’t a lot of it, but it certainly lit the room and helped me to wake up. This light came from the second egress window, in the living room. Through it, when you stand in just the right spot, you can see a bird feeder in the front yard, and the tops of the trees beyond – a happy contrast to the bedroom window. I’ve found that this tiny pane of glass causes me to look out more often than I might have otherwise – I have to make a point to look up and out, to see if I can find any birds, or to find out if the snow has melted.
Which brings me to another of our little burrow’s many benefits – we are never, ever cold. The basement is cozy and warm, despite temperatures that have often reached the negative teens outside. As I am usually always cold, this is a huge plus. Perhaps I shall just hibernate for the winter? All this snow says that is not a bad idea. It’s a dangerous business going out your door, after all, even if you have a door of your own.