I’ve heard the advice that everyone should spend a night in their own guest room, just to experience first-hand how welcoming it is. Or isn’t. Well, my guest room has turned into my office over the years and it’s not much of a guest room these days. But I was feeling lazy today and had hit a snag in the ms, so I decided maybe a nap was a good idea. I turned away from the computer and there it was: a bold inviting splash of sunshine spilling across the bed in the guest room.
But honestly, this room is a pure creative mess, with the bed all but buried. I had to move two large piles of research notes and plot diagrams and marked-up pages of dialog — under which I found the “lost” car charger for my cell phone — then shoo the cat away and shake her hair off the throw blanket I keep folded at the foot of the bed.
It smelled faintly of dust, no one has slept there for several months, but the bed is firm and the pillows are good. As I lay down with my back to the sun, I realized that this is the only bed in my house that is directly in the path of sunshine. Two bedrooms are on the north side of the house and almost never get direct sun. A third is on the south side like this one, but the bed there is on the inside wall. The bed in this room, the guest room, is under the window on the south wall. In the sunlight.
The sun was hot on my back and I could soon smell the heat in my hair where it spread out on the pillow behind me. It felt good on a cold February day, even as it occurred to me the sensation might not be as comforting in July. I rolled over, wanting to feel that intensity on my face, turning toward it as if it were a fervent caress. I stretched into it like a cat, welcoming the embrace of bright heat with languid appreciation.
It was mid-afternoon and the sun’s rays shift quickly this time of year; soon they were angling away from my face and down, spreading heat in their path. Almost too warm now, I kicked off the blanket and noticed the cobweb in the upper corner of the window, shimmering and beautiful in the shaft of light. A cloud moved over the sun, bringing a dark shiver, but the brilliance soon returned with a now familiar heat made more intense by its brief absence. I reached out, curious, pressing three fingertips to the window pane and felt the stark contrast of the smooth frigid glass. Outside it is winter. Inside, boneless and relaxed, I closed my eyes and melted like slow liquid into the simple quiet pleasure of the afternoon sun.
I slept, startled awake some time later when a squirrel jumped from a branch of the maple tree, landing with a thud on the roof above me before scurrying across the shingles, a well-worn path to the oak in the front yard. A very nice dream cut short by the reminder that I still have not called a roofer. Sigh.
So while it would no doubt benefit from a good dusting and the trimming of a few tree branches, I have decided my guest room is the perfect place for a lazy nap on a sunny winter day.