I think one of the things I’ll value most about moving into our new house will be the relative isolation, at least compared to the condo we’re renting at the moment. There will be neighbors on both sides of us, but there’s more distance between the houses than there is here. And, here, there are units a stone’s throw from the place, easily visible from the sliding glass door onto the deck. At the new house, there are thick woods on a steep slope behind us, leading down to a road and, beyond the road, more woods.
There is a kind of comfort in isolation, a sense of ease that allows a person to relax and behave in a completely natural way. A gauzy veil of trees and insulating distance removes much of the tension that disables my ability to simply relax and unwind. While, here, I am always conscious that people may see me stand out on the deck, sipping my coffee, that sense of “being watched” will be far less in the new place. Oh, it’s not completely isolated; I might be watched there, too, but I know I will feel less “on view” than I do here. It’s not that this place is not private; it is. But being among a cluster of other condo units makes visual privacy an impossibility.
I suppose part of this sense of being “on view” has to do with the fact that I tend to go out on the deck when there are people out and about. But even when I walk out in the dark at 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., I can’t shake the feeling that someone might be gazing up at me. Of course, there’s nothing to hide. It’s not as if I were wandering the deck nude, drinking from a glass of freshly let goat blood. But I prefer confirmed privacy. I always have and I always will.