Early to mid-spring as the sun shines higher in the northern hemisphere, before the leaves pop out.
And in the fall after the cold wet wind has blown those same leaves from the maple trees that encroach upon our third floor love-nest from the north and east.
Once or twice each April that same east window is rattled by sleet laced winds when they seem to be trying to turn our house around or turn our gaze to the south and the approach of summer.
Fifteen years of blissful nights have come and gone in this bedroom and not once has my door been beaten down by the combat boots of foreign or domestic soldiers. Imagine the terror imprinted into the hearts and minds of the Iraqi families who suffer this indignation! A handful of U.S. soldiers, barking commands in a foreign tongue or curt Arabic, busting into your room in the dark of night with weapons aggressively readied.
Each night in late spring, we leave our south-facing bedroom window open just a crack. The fresh air is a gift.
Several times during these weeks I will be awakened by a barely perceptible sound from just beyond the gardens.
The birth of a Shetland lamb, or perhaps twins, is imminent and often announced by the mother with a very special bleat, or groan, or grunt.
Moments later I may be seen in bathrobe and sheep boots with a bucket of warm water and molasses, wending my way among the dormant veggie and flower beds toward the barn.
The life cycle has begun again in the peacefulness of the early morning.
Our southern bedroom window is much like a series of still life paintings progressing each morning when we rise
from the planting and greening of our gardens through harvest and browning down in the fall.
These past 15 years of spring lambing and changing lushness of gardens has not once been marred by helicopter gun ships strafing our rooftop, walls, or gardens. Nor has there been a single instance when foreign military bulldozers have entered our compound intent upon crushing our barns, gardens, or fruit trees.
To the Palestinian people, who for a half-century have been impounded by the Israeli government, these invasions of privacy are surly more akin to prison guard abuses made worse by the knowledge that many of the weapons exploded among them are built and funded by the United States. Both U.S. and Israeli investors in military equipment and munitions are counting their profits while the product of such investments is shattering lives. And peace. And quiet.
When the outdoor temperatures dip into the 10s and 20s, both above and below zero degrees Fahrenheit, our bedroom window that faces the west displays the spectacular red-orange fireball of winter sunsets.
While the hawk blows in from the northwest we lie and watch the 75-foot-tall maple, white ash, and beach trees thrash about high above us and creak and snap under the stress of the wind and the cold.
Each year, a few of these giants succumb to these forces and end up in our woodstove, creating the gentle heat that rises to keep us snug in our peaceful sanctuary.
Not one time during these winter nights of near hibernation has a soldier of the War on Terrorism entered our sanctuary and announced that I or my wife would be detained because our names looked a lot like names on a list of suspected friends of possible acquaintances of probable Muslims. Or because an anonymous tipster had suggested that our website favorites contained the address of the Aljazeera news. Imagine the contempt for freedom and democracy that would take hold and grow in a community that experienced even one such incident!
Dale S. Scott of Harbor Springs is a member of the folk band Peacemeal.