My original impression of Basel as a quiet place has been irrevocably shattered now that I'm here in the summer instead of the winter. In this season construction projects are in full swing, and the noise of machinery is nearly incessant during the work day—including some sort of saw that reminds me of a high-volume dentist's drill and sets my teeth on edge worse than the World Cup horns.
That unavoidable annoyance notwithstanding, I realized this morning that in some ways Janet and Stephan's city apartment is closer to nature than our own suburban house. (And our back yard, for its size, is an especially wildlife-friendly area.) Light and air stream through the many windows, and when I look up from my computer I rest my eyes on a view of the blue sky, the trees of a nearby park, and a window box garden of herbs and wildflowers.
When I look up from my computer at home, I see a wall. Well, I also see pictures of our grandkids, which is a delightful view itself, but here there is something restful to the eyes in focussing on the distant trees, and soothing to the spirit in watching the birds soar and the wildflowers move in the breeze.
Who'd have thought one could feel so close to nature in the middle of the city? The peace it brings almost cancels out the noise.