Awakening to Greenery

What’s the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning? How does it make you feel?

I never thought much about the morning view from my bed—until I stumbled into a delicious one. It was the view to the outdoors from my bedroom in a suburban cottage I rented several years ago. The bedroom itself was unremarkable: boxy, white walls, flat ceiling, hallway and closet doors. But the life-changing thing was the big sliding glass door that opened onto a little deck.

The cottage was an “in-law” unit behind a larger house, so it was at the back of the property, far from streetlights. My bedroom faced north, looking onto a dense row of evergreen trees that the owner had planted at the back of the property. All of this added up to the unusual (in my experience) fact that I could leave the drapes open at night without having my sleep disturbed by stray light.

In the mornings, I opened my eyes to lush greenery, warmed by the sun’s rays. This gave me unbelievable pleasure!

I’d never realized what I’d been missing, all those decades of keeping my bedroom curtains closed. My cottage bedroom addressed the standard issues of privacy and streetlights via its location and landscaping. I loved gradually coming to consciousness each morning, watched over by my beautiful evergreen friends.

That cottage was a temporary home while I searched for a house to buy. One of my criteria for that house-hunt quickly became: I want a bedroom that faces away from streetlights, with a window onto greenery.

And I found it. I now sleep in a room that faces a lush, green backyard. At this time of year, I come to consciousness gazing out the window at a pear tree bursting with green leaves and colorful fruit. In the foreground are several half-wine-barrels filled with day lilies and lavender. Behind the pear tree are willows and tanoaks. It’s a many-layered tableau of happy greenery.

There was just one catch: the streetlights lit up my backyard too much for my sleeping comfort. For a while, I just kept the blinds closed at night. But I really missed my green mornings!

My solution may or may not be relevant to your situation, but the thought process I used can be applied anywhere, so stick with me. I kept going around and around: I wanted to wake up looking out that window, but I didn’t want the blinds open all night—and I didn’t want to have to get out of bed to open the blinds.

Here’s what I finally worked out: I tied one end of a long, pretty, iridescent (dream-like) ribbon to the cord that opens the blinds; I tied the other end to a mesh bag that I filled with stones; and I rested the bag of stones on the edge of the bed.

Now, as I begin to awaken, I roll over and feel around for the bag of stones (which, in themselves, feel nice and earthy and make a pleasing sound when I move the bag), and gently tug on the ribbon until the blinds are angled just right to give me a view of the sunshine kissing the pear tree.

What wonderful surroundings for contemplating the day to come! I’m quite sure my green mornings make me happier and more creative.

And guess what? If you have a window, you can create a green morning view for yourself even if you don’t have one now. Use a can-do brainstorming process like the one I describe–or go to my Consulting page and sign up for a free exploration session with me. Here’s to waking up in bliss!

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  1. Carol, I LOVE this blog post! Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how, as soon as I wake up, I think about WORK—terrible! But YOU have inspired to me look out the bedroom window at my yard instead! It’s not real lush in our low water/no water LA semi arid environment, and I have to shut out all the guilt about ignoring things back there, but at least there’s some nature to look at. I’m going to make a concerted effort now to look at and connect with nature when I wake up. Thank you! Mary

    • You bring up a great point, Mary. Sometimes there’s plenty of life around us, but we’re focused elsewhere. Just gazing at the sky can be very relaxing and put everything into perspective. Even with a low-water landscape, I’ll bet that gazing at your backyard greenery while letting your mind freewheel as you wake up will bring good things to your day–peace, creativity, and, most importantly, a sense of connection with the rest of the living world.

  2. Barbara Kline says:

    I live on the upper floor of an apartment building in a big apartment complex which has two busy streets on both the eastern and western boundaries.. I do have a rather large balcony just off the living room. How can I make this balcony a real nature preserve.? What about the noise from the side street on my end of the property?

    • Hi Barbara,
      Indeed, you have some challenges there, but there’s also a lot you can do to mitigate them. I’ve seen people create small “wildlife habitats” on their urban balconies. You can provide the basic elements of wildlife habitat by developing a balcony container garden using plants native to your area that provide food and shelter for locally native birds, bees, butterflies, etc. Add a dish of water so they can take a drink. Just looking out at greenery, critters, and water will also give you a big lift. Including a small fountain (maybe powered by a little solar panel) can create masking sound that might lessen the impact of the traffic noise. If there’s room for a chair, you can get right out in your little nature preserve. Check out for lots of helpful information. You’re inspiring me to create more blog posts on this topic. Stay tuned!

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