Wouldn’t it be interesting if instead of writing our signatures, we were called upon to “sign” our names with a simple drawing of our choice? An image that represents us more accurately than an assemblance of letters? I know exactly what my drawing would be. A woman looking through a window.
In my mind, I carry so many snapshots, from over the years, of me looking through windows.
Through years of an abusive first marriage, I watched life scroll past the front window of my house. Everyone, it seemed, was going somewhere, but I remained fear-frozen in my circumstance. I nursed mugs of hot tea and stared out at the street. How did it all come to this? While my partner spewed menace in other rooms, I withdrew to my spot in front of the sill and hoped for restorative moments. If I squinted hard enough, maybe I could conjure a belief in life beyond those four walls. The possibilities I saw there emboldened me to leave with my children and take up a new life.
The windows of my new apartment afforded a wider view of the world. I’d deliver pep talks to my reflection in the glass. Often, I recited John Quincy Adam’s quote which I’d read in a novel. “I am a warrior, so that my son may be a merchant, so that his son may be a poet.” The words fit although Adam’s personal principles did not.
One day while gazing through a window I saw my Eric, the love of my life, the truest friend I’ve ever known. For the past quarter century, we’ve been looking out of windows together. We dream together. While our children were growing up, I loved nothing better than to stand just inside a window to watch them play or, in later years, set off for school. They grew into brilliant humans of good character with lives of their own. Years later, my gaze turned toward nature and what I could wrought from the soil.
I am still a woman looking through a window. I stand up from my writing desk and stretch and look through the pine trees and across the fields, across the split-cedar-rail fence zigzagging through corn stubble. Instead of standing at the window hoping for the world to pull me outside, I look out to pull the world inside of me.
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April 7, 2022 at 11:33 am
Ahhh yes. I too love looking out the window, happy to see whatever passes by. In our summer place, with a high view over looking the lake and a wide, wide view of the sky, I spend hours in the afternoon watching the lake, the wild life and the constantly changing sky. In Florida I love to sit on the beach and stare out over the Gulf of Mexico feeling the draw of the horizon into the universe and the divine. The windows I sit behind are on my eyes and They come with me everywhere!
April 7, 2022 at 11:46 am
Dave, I think you must be a poet. “The windows I sit behind are on my eyes and They come with me everywhere!” So beautifully expressed. Have you read “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer? She’s a scientist, professor and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her writing is so visual as she discusses nature and our relationship with nature. Her points of view, based on the different roles in her life, “braid” together here. I think you’d enjoy it.
April 7, 2022 at 2:30 pm
This is beautiful. Although at the start I couldn’t help but think of Prince and his symbol. I’d need to spend a lot of time thinking about this. My knee-jerk decision is the bicycle chainring tattooed on my calf, but that ignores all the other aspects of my life. A symbol that encompasses my whole being, that’s hard.
April 7, 2022 at 4:14 pm
Hello Jeff. I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece. It is indeed a challenge to settle on one image that captures everything, especially when we’re constantly evolving.