Big oversized windows provide a connection to the outside that is fantastic, I love it, and I can’t imagine going back to a windowless life.  However connected we are now to the sky, backyard and little courtyard, we are not connected with the community, neighbours and life on the street. Not that anything really happens on a residential cul-de-sac in suburbia, believe me, we’ve sat and waited.  So I find we have turned inwards to live, leaving our outwards downtown lifestyle in Dundas.

I live in my own little Active House world, not a bad world to be in, but I do find it at odds with what I am used to, what I have come to think of how I live.  I no longer feel an urgency each morning to get out and into the world.  I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on summer when I choose to stay inside on those crazy hot days as the outside is basically inside with fresh air, sunshine and the ability to watch the clouds float by from the comfort of my sofa.  

For me, I love falling asleep with the blinds open, as all I see from my bed is the open sky and treetops lit by the urban glow.  The downside would be that those windows face east, so the sun could burn through my eyelids at 5:50am warming the room like a badly chosen campsite, but as my youngest daughter’s sleeping habits seem to be directly correlated with the sunrise, I don’t really have to worry about that.

For the girls, it is harder to articulate.  In Dundas they used to gravitate to our picture window at the front of the house which overlooked one of the main downtown streets.  The curtains over the armchair became Eleanor’s castle/school/boat/firetruck, the armchair became the place for Lucy to do stickers, the wooden chest was Poppy’s place to view the world and point out every sparrow, dog, and garbage truck that went by.  Two words to describe it, endearing chaos!  Now in Active House Centennial Park, the girls are no longer pulled to the front window even though it is twice the size and no stools are required.  Is that because there is nothing to watch or is it because the front window is no longer their main source of daylight?  Life inside Active House Centennial Park is more peaceful and once again I ask myself is it the daylight or the additional space or maybe a combination of both?

To me it is a feat of architecture and location to be able to sit in amongst a new housing development in Canada’s largest city and not have to close all the blinds on my glass house for a sense of privacy.  I have surprised myself at my new internal lifestyle, where I once was out on the town daily with my 3 little ducklings, I am now relatively content, as are they, in their new Active House surrounds.  In a few weeks when I need more than watching the neighbours’ 10 year old learning to skateboard, the one squirrel determined to dig up my wilting tomatoes or the pair of robins diligently eating the dogwood berries, I know I will swing back to craving my life out in the community and hop in the car, as people do in the burbs, and seek out the world again.