Let’s say you inadvertently leave your boots at work. OK, let’s not mince words. You forget your boots at work.
When you return home you discover six new inches of fresh-fallen snow in the driveway. You had planned an outdoor activity, but suddenly you’re out of luck. You put your little feet in your husband’s big boots and wade to the mailbox, but that’s as far as you’re going.
You talk with your daughter on the phone. She says, “You’re going to have to think of a different kind of adventure today.”
Recently she has shared a different sort of Manhattan adventure. She pours a cup of coffee and perches above her heater by her window overlooking New York City. She calls it “window watching”. She views the sky with its ever-changing magnificence. Plants on a fire escape illuminated by the sun only at a certain time of day. Building shadows. Airplanes. Pigeons.
When she describes “window watching” it sounds very meditative. She has grown to love her window-time. Sometimes she thinks and sometimes she simply watches. It has become one of her favorite times during the day.
I asked, “How about I look out the window today, too?”
It was a good idea. I felt quite emotional today, and the quietness of the sitting meditation eased the soul. Here is what existed out the window: No sun. No shadows. Bare bones of trees. Splashes of spruce trees. No birds. No animals. No airplanes.
My eyes moved between the trees, fascinated by angles and patterns. The snow fell from the heavens with gusto, with energy, with intensity. Unlike its lazy falling yesterday when it appeared you could host a tea party in the time it took a single flake to drift to the ground.
One notices the frame of the window, the window itself and the scene beyond. I mused that the windows looked like framed photographs–living photographs which changed and breathed and moved and expanded and contracted. Seasons pass in the living photographs of our windows.
How often do we take our windows for granted? How often do we dismiss the scene outside them, thinking we’ve already seen everything that exists in the landscape?
As you stare out the window, your breathing slows. You forget your worries. You forget yesterday and tomorrow. You’re in the present, simply looking out the window.
Have you often witnessed older people simply staring out the window, watching the birds? Two sets of our elderly neighbors once regaled us with tales of the wildlife outside their windows. They often watched for hours, entranced, as the world paraded outside the glass.
In my 20’s at the time I wondered at their interest. What in the world could be so intriguing outside the window?
All these years later, I’m beginning to understand. Thank goodness my daughter is learning this in her 20’s.
On the days it snows six inches and you forget your boots at work, please try simply looking out the window for at least thirty minutes. It’s guaranteed to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and invoke deep peace.