Monday, January 28, 2013

Yurt Geometry

The geometry of this yurt works subtly on me.  Rays of sun often splash across the parallel wooden floorboards leaving fleeting prints of light and shadow defined by lattice-shaped diamonds.   On recent evenings moonlight projects through the dome onto floor and walls, searching and highlighting.  Perpendicular to the perimeter of the circle 2-bys rise, giving a lightness, a buoyant lift to the roof and the space it encloses. 

The yurt is cozy but not claustrophobic, and its structure always feels larger on the inside.  The roof beams soar overhead surrounding and directing my eyes upward to the ocular dome and  beyond towards the sky and heavens above, painting the ceiling with parading clouds and the stars of the Milky Way.  

The forms of furnishings both highlight and challenge these geometries forming contrasting triangles, rectangles and arcs. 

It might be a busy vision, but it is not.  The wisdom and grace of the design, along with the refined wood grained materials work together creating a peaceful energy; safe, strong and welcoming.

It is my stout shelter, my creative retreat, and my quiet home.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013


     I haven't been able, in my two years of yurt living, to commit to building walls or any other more permanent features inside my yurt space.  Perhaps this is a commentary on the occupant (commitment issues??) but more likely is the simpler explanation; I enjoy the freedom of flexibility and the aesthetic bounty of openness, both in my floor plan and in the light and radiance overhead.  Plain and simple; wabi-sabi. 
     In my 24 foot circle I have chairs and a bench clustered about a small table forming a seating area.  My bed is a small peninsula across the floor.  A hammock is slung in front of a window offering a swinging view of tree and sky.  A cabinet and dresser along with a small table and cart,  form my kitchen, skirting the interior windowless wall.  The back door leads to a lanai with a view of the ocean and a bird filled wooded gulch.  The front door opens to a grassy-ferny meadow and my path to the outside world.  The ever-changing view here is of the mountains, which this morning were purple and pink reflecting the morning sunrise.  The sky is generously open.  Clouds collect and dissipate in many forms and colors.  Blue skies with warm sun pass into fog or gray rain clouds.  All of this can happen suddenly before your eyes with rain or sun lasting for days.  I am, both indoors and out, at the whim of the ocean.
     To the right of my front door is a small raised bed garden.  Planted and growing are tomatoes, beans, cilantro, lettuce and green peppers.  The garden is a bit of a science experiment, as all gardens are.  What will grow and thrive, what will not survive?  It is a different ecosystem here, one that I am just beginning to acclimatize to, different in some important ways than the temperate mainland.  And like all science experiments, Hawaiian gardens require patient observation, vigilance, and some trial and error. Living in a fabric home, sound travels easily in and out.  Last week, a feral pig snorted nearby.  I chased it off with a clap of hands, protecting my lettuce for an other's meal.
     The beauty of this in and out existence is that it all right there, just a few quick steps away.  Yurts are for outdoor people,  who enjoy both the comfort and the intimacy that it provides.