The “Million Dollar View”

A friend reminds me about what I now take for granted.

Not sure if anyone is noticing, but I’m doing my best to blog every morning these days. That means keeping them short when I have other stuff to do. And believe me, I have a lot of other stuff to do.

I’m ready to declare email bankruptcy and just clear all of this out.

After spending about an hour with my coffee and nightmarish email inbox, I looked up and realized that the sun had come up. I looked out my side windows — the ones facing the Wenatchee Valley and Columbia River — and was instantly rewarded with the amazing view I’ve come to take for granted.

My Amazing Morning View
Here’s what I see most mornings, right from my windows. Not too shabby, eh? Click the photo to view a much larger version where you can see the detail — including my “Lookout Point” bench in the bottom right.

I had a friend over for dinner last night. As the sun was setting, she remarked that I had a “million dollar view.” I looked out and agreed that it was beautiful. (I didn’t mention that it so often looked better.) I told her that it looked best in the morning in the golden hour light, when the low-lying sun cast deep shadows that bought out the texture of the mountains and hillsides. Like in the photo above. Same in the afternoon, when the cliffs across the river were illuminated just right. (Note to self: add photo of that.)

I’m a view person, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog. Looking out and seeing the world around me energizes me and puts me at peace — at the same time. Yes, I like tall pine trees and forests and canyons, but being surrounded by those things in tight quarters would stifle me, making me feel closed in and possibly smothered. Being able to look out and see for miles and miles makes me feel good about myself and my world.

The seasons are changing now; autumn is coming. The view changes with the seasons. Right now, the cherry orchard on the right has irrigation turned off and is being allowed to die; I suspect that when apple harvest is done, they’ll tear out those trees. Will they get new ones in before winter? Probably not; it’ll be a project I can watch in the spring. There’s still a tiny bit of snow up in the Enchantments, which are hidden in this photo by the low clouds on the left. The river bends as it makes its way into Wenatchee; in the evening, it reflects the changing color of the sky.

So much to see, right from my windows. Like an ever-changing series of paintings, a triptych with more than just three panels, separated by a few inches of wall between each view.

I cannot express how glad I am that my life took the turn it did back in 2012 when I became free to make all of my life decisions. That freedom made it possible to buy 10 acres of undeveloped land high on a cliffside shelf overlooking an amazingly beautiful valley. It made it possible for me to plan and build the home I wanted, a home that would meet my needs and bring this view into every room.

A “million dollar view”? That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s priceless to me.

8 thoughts on “The “Million Dollar View”

  1. It is quite the view from your place, it’s fortunate that you were able to build your new place to take advantage of it. You are also spot-on about the morning/late afternoon lighting being the best of the day, as I’m sure you noticed during your time flying tours at the Grand Canyon. I sometimes thought it ironic that most of the tourists go there in the middle of summer when the haze and the harsh lighting make for the worst viewing. By the time fall/winter comes along they’ve nearly all packed up and left, which is a shame since a dusting of snow and the low sun angles of winter make it a far more beautiful place, particularly if there are a few low clouds to add perspective.

    • Time of day or year is so important for light and the resulting views. Right now, the view is the same, but it’s not nearly as pretty at noon because the light is so bright and harsh and all the shadows are flattened.

      What amazes me is how many homes on lots with good views are not built to take advantage of them. My old house in AZ is a good example. It had good views from some windows, but the living room faced the side of a hill and the garage door faced the mountains to the north. What were they thinking?

  2. Who knows? I suspect that many houses in that situation are oriented more for the convenience of the original builder than the views and sightlines of the eventual homeowner. Certainly a lot of “spec” houses (especially in cookie-cutter subdivisions) are placed to maximize their “street appeal” rather than to accommodate any sort of practical or aesthetic considerations.

    • I suspect that my old house, which was built as a spec house but the builder and his family lived in during final construction, was a situation where they found plans they liked and stuck it on the property with the garage facing the driveway. Because of the lay of the land, the driveway HAD to be in a certain place. But a different plan that took in the views would have gotten them more money from us and gotten us more money from the next folks. There was no “curb appeal” where I lived — it was at the absolute end of the road.

      But I suspect you’re right about most homes that don’t take advantage of views. Builders not thinking.

  3. You never know what people will do with a property, but sometimes it really makes you wonder. One of the best view I’ve even noticed (other than from a helicopter, of course ;) ) was on a military base, the Presidio of Monterey in California, home to the Defense Language School. The gas station on base there has a large cleared lot right next to it with a panoramic view of Monterey Bay, it’s absolutely breathtaking. If that land was in civilian hands it would undoubtedly be a fabulous restaurant or a high-dollar mansion, strictly big bucks, billionaires only need apply. Last time I saw it the military (Army in this case, I believe) was using it to store dozens of porta-potty type chemical toilets. Go figure…

  4. You have a great view, for sure.
    There is something about being on high ground, being able to look down and away to a far horizon, that nurtures a frazzled brain.
    When I did some serious climbing years ago I noticed that conversations among climbers who had reached their summit were entirely different from those during the climb itself. The latter were matter of fact and obviously focused on the task in hand. But on the summit people became open, reflective and calm. When looking at the shared view, topics tended to be hopeful and to embrace things more numinous than the humdrum.
    Open-cockpit gyro flying still has this effect on me.

    • I’ve got a bench out on the point of land out toward my best view. I call it Lookout Point; the land drops off beyond it and I can see the horizon for about 270° (vs. almost 180° from my deck). It is, by far, the most peaceful and reflective place on my property. Next year, I’m going to build a small house on it, a place I can put a desk and sit sheltered from the elements while still enjoying them. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of that.

What do you think?