Ode to windows writer has known

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Have you ever given any thought to windows? I hadn’t until I read something in a book recently.

The author, Mark Nepo, talked about windows he remembered, and as I read, my own memories surfaced. Amazing how many of them there are.

First, consider the origin of the word window. According to Nepo, it derives from the Old Norse “vindauga” which means, “wind eye.” He said the Old English word that means window is eag-pyrl, meaning “eye hole.” Interestingly, like we do with our own eyes, we see the world through windows.

As I think back, sitting beside a window looking out at the day is something I’ve always loved. For example, when I was a child, there was a big mimosa tree outside of my upstairs window and that was my favorite place to dream.

I parked in front of the window on summer days and watched hummingbirds drinking from the mimosa flowers. Seeing them dart from bloom to bloom, I imagined they were fairies carrying magic on their wings.

At my grandparents’ house, a kitchen window was the spot where my Daddy Roy drank his coffee. I loved staying with them, rising early and sitting on his lap watching the world wake up outside that window. People passed by, waving and calling good morning. I waved back as I sipped the milky coffee Mama Helms made for me.

In the living room of my childhood home, there is big picture window. You could see up and down East Park Avenues through its glass. I gazed at the reflection of Christmas lights in that window as I dreamed about the wonderful things Santa would bring. Many afternoons I spotted Daddy driving up from work while I sat at the window reading.

And, the breakfast room window in that same house is where I still sit with Mother when I visit. How many meals did I eat in that room as the light poured through the panes making shadows on the table? Even now when I go see Mother, we sit beside that window, often watching and commenting on the birds that come to eat at the feeder attached to the windowsill.

There are windows in other homes that live in my memory. Some I looked through late at night as I rocked babies softly, singing them to sleep. From others, I watched children playing, making sure they stayed safely in the yard.

Perhaps my favorite adult window is the one in my bedroom. It looks out on my front yard and from it, I can see into the woods. I like to watch the seasons change from that spot. The play of light through the tall oaks is different with every shift of the sun. I do some of my best thinking and meditating in the chair beside that window.

What a simple, common thing a window is; something we never give much thought. (Unless a wandering baseball or windblown limb shatters one). Nepo says in his book, “The earliest windows were holes in a wall. And the human journey between opening and closing has always been about the relationship between our walls and our windows.” I love that thought.

Think for a moment what life would be without windows, how dark and closed. Maybe I like windows because some how I understand that we are all windows for each other bringing in light when it is most needed.

I think Mark Nepo expresses it best.

“Ultimately, each of us is a window through which the great forces of life enter, the way light fills a home. Through us, the Sources of Life can revive those who are bruised and those who are waiting to find their way.

“So, hard as it is at times, love your window open, and become the opening itself until your walls come down. When the walls come down, the opening is everywhere.”

Today, I’m thankful for the windows in my walls that bring so much light into my life.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.