My writing desk overlooks our fenced-in backyard where red squirrels chase each other in death-defying scamps along the edge of our privacy fence and up the bark of a giant poplar. Behind and around me, wooden bookshelves stand sentry over my work. The sun warms me as I sit in front of my laptop sipping apple cinnamon tea, and my four-year-old black Lab, Tilly, lays her head in my lap hoping for a nibble of the peanuts I’ve been snacking on. She stares with those big brown eyes, tail wagging expectantly.

“Okay,” I tell her, and she uses her tiny front teeth to wriggle the peanuts from between my fingers. I give her two. She wants more. I eventually ignore her long enough that she lies down behind me. I know without looking because I hear the thud of her body and the clank of her collar on the floor. She doesn’t even bother walking to her bed in front of the fireplace today. I have about five minutes before she’ll be back for more.

Though descriptive and amusing, the paragraphs above provide a limited picture about the office where I write. Yes, I have a wonderful desk in front of a large bank of windows, but the backyard I gaze upon is covered in dog poo because it’s been too cold to pick it up. (And that’ll be our little secret, okay?) I love the coziness of having a fireplace and built-in bookshelves in my office, though I rarely mention how drafty and dark it can be, and the sunlight that floats in and settles on my desk usually does lift my spirit, if it’s not blinding me from beneath the shades.