broadsideblog

72 Square Feet of Airspace — The Joys of a Balcony

In culture on August 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm
Edouard Manet: Le balcon

Image via Wikipedia

As summer fades into September, always annoyingly too soon, those of us lucky enough to have a terrace or balcony attached to our apartments are out there soaking up every last bit of fresh air and sunshine. I’m there in the cool, pearly early mornings, checking up on my pots of burgundy snapdragons and variegated ivy and marigolds and my beloved Alberta spruce who really needs a good trim right about now. At sunset, we settle in and count the pale pink con-trails as they fade, wondering where all those jets are coming from and going to. Thick flocks of sparrows dive-bomb us as they head, urgently, somewhere.

My balcony, at tree-top level, looks north up the Hudson River. One day, buried deep in some complicated story in The New York Times, my head down, I heard a “whoosh” near my right ear. Since there’s nobody anywhere near my balcony, except a floor below me, who whooshed? What else — a red-tailed hawk flying right past me, so close I heard the wind rushing through his wings.

I dread the long winter months when I lose my extra room in the sky and, as the days begin to cool, I’ll sit out there, wrapped in a blanket, as long as I can stand it.

Here are photos of some fantastic balconies, from Japanese teacups to a Dutch nest. Lima, Peru has some great examples. I’ve seen amazing ones in Istanbul, Malta and Spain. How about solar panels for your balcony?

There’s even  an Ottawa-based rock and roll band called The Balconies, not surprising that they’re Canadian, people who really know — in the depths of endlessly snowbound winters — how sadly fleeting summer is. There’s also a legendary Canadian play, Balconville, by David Fennario,  about a group of working class Anglos and Francophones who share their vacations in the only town they can afford to visit balconville — on their balcons, their balconies.

Do you have a balcony you’re enjoying these days? Or a favorite one you’ve visited?

  1. I don’t have a balcony but I do love balconies. What a fun post … and I will check out both the band and the play. OK, I’m off to my front deck overlooking our three pastoral acres here on Whidbey Island. I guess it’s my balcony, just closer to the ground.

  2. Thanks…wave to my mom, will you? She lives in Victoria.

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