As if nature saw the calendar memo, autumn landed and the temperatures dropped. So I bought a few mums and closed my windows for the first time since May. They’re the old wooden kind that stick whether you’re trying to open or close them. Some need propping up with a piece of wood. Functionally, they all suck. Still, I’m not changing them.
Window salespeople make a bee-line to my house to try and convince me to get their more energy efficient, very ugly plastic products. Religious proselytizers who knock on my door have a better chance of converting me – I love my old wooden windows that much. Most rooms have three windows giving my little cape an abundance of light and views. Downstairs I can look out at the garden and bird feeders and from upstairs, I live with the branches through the seasons. From the window at the top of the stairs I see the peach and pear trees and have a birds eye view of resident groundhogs as they snuffle around their estate.
These windows are drafty as hell – single glazed, some with cracked panes and at least one with a gap at the top no matter how hard I try shoving it closed. All need re-puttying. In another month or two I’ll be covering them with plastic vowing that next Spring, I’ll wash them. I can tell you right now, that’s probably a losing bet.
The sun has an easy entry into all of my rooms. On a summer morning, the light that pours through my bedroom windows shines right through my closed lids. I like waking up like this – to the glowing gift of a day. With upcoming changing clocks nonsense, the hour I wake will soon be pitch dark. I can already feel a shift in my morning mood. Waking with the light brings me joy and I would not last long in a windowless cell. Just a skylight is not enough and no alley windows for me.
My view of the trees is sweet and branches are a first marker of the seasons. But to have a view of water is a dream! A pond or a river or best yet, the sea. Always, at least – the sky. This is a requirement for any other real estate I ever move into. Plenty of windows. Quaint trullis and European cave houses so common in the hot regions of Italy, Spain, Portugal – with rooms with thick windowless walls like a tomb – do not tempt me. My happiness directly relates to being able to feel the strongest pulse of nature involving as many of my senses as possible. While my first choice is always to be able to step right outside, a window I can open is the next best thing.
The first thing I do when I go downstairs in the morning, if it’s warm enough, is open the windows and the front door. In winter, I pull back the heavy curtains to let the light in. Always, I try and shrink the space between me and the natural world even if it means throwing another sweater or blanket on.
My front porch gets a lot of use. Whenever I can, I like to sit out on the old glider to feel the air while I eat and drink. I like to read out there and take at least one nap each summer. The clothesline runs from the porch to the crabapple tree trunk and I hang my laundry until it freezes. The porch is where I welcome visitors and watch the birds and the neighbors go by. And when it rains or the mosquitos get bad, the sweet breezeway area off the kitchen is perfect. In the winter it becomes a quick pass through area to pull off boots and for over-wintering plants. There are plenty windows.
While washing dishes, there’s an unexciting view of the garage but crane your head a little and look to the right to glimpse the great old oak tree. Raptors like to hang out there to watch for prey and when the leaves fall, there’s an easy view of them. I always plant my window boxes and they’re easy to water through the screens using the sink spray hose.
Of course windows are also for looking in. When I’ve traveled alone in the past and been homesick and during unhappy times in my own home, I peered at and in (from a distance!) the windows of strangers, sure their lives were better than mine. As the day disappears and windows begin to glow, it’s easy to imagine the happy cozy lives within. And yet – I know that’s not always true. While the total number of happy days lived in this house now outnumber the troubled ones, there were tough times that the luminosity of these windows did not reveal. But now, in this home, what you see from outside is a life of serenity, sweetness and joy. With the approach of winter, my windows may darken at night but the warmth and love inside is bright and true – if a little drafty.
True answers only: How often do you wash your windows?