Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Memory of Windows

Is there anything lovelier than old window glass with the sun streaming through it?


It's reflections and refractions and imperfections add such dimension and texture to a generally cold and unyielding surface.

To live in a house with 21 windows and four doors and transoms constructed of that wondrous material was enchanting to me.

The windows were old and drafty...three panes of glass over a single larger pane with old rope-style mechanisms that caused even the most devout to curse at their stubborn resistance to being opened.

At Christmas each year, I fashioned 17 fragrantly fresh evergreen wreaths to adorn the windows with. Four larger wreaths were made for the doors. The four small attic windows remained undecorated. Even the die-hard Christmas decorating enthusiast that I was in those years, refused to climb a very, very long ladder for that purpose.

Situated alone at the top of a hill, privacy was not an issue and I had very few curtains in that house. I liked the windows bare.

The deep windowsills were another matter.

Those wide boards held all kinds of treasures. The downstair room windowsills were covered in rocks, feathers, and little bottles found in the plowed dirt of the garden. Antique books found homes there as well as crayons and rubberbands and all the clutter and chaotic overflow of a family home.

The second floor windowsills were adorned with things relevant to each room...toothpaste and kleenex in the claw-foot-tubbed bathroom. Puzzle pieces and childhood treasures in the children's rooms.

But the three windowsills in my bedroom held cobalt blue glass. Tiny bottles along the top ledges of the bottom windows, larger pieces clustered on the actual windowsills themselves. Blue glass ornaments hung randomly from fishing line filling in some of the panes of glass.



The bedroom walls were covered in very old forget-me-not sprigged wallpaper. Although faded, it was in perfect condition so it remained. Wide golden floorboards went well with the white painted furniture and simple, white chenille bedspread I decorated the room with.

It was a plain room.

Simple and sweet.

Until a certain time of year when the zenith of the sun created morning magic.

And then...

Oh my...

Pink and golden light filled those east facing windows. The old imperfections in the glass started sparkling like inset diamonds.

The glass became radiant and rosy.

And then...

Oh my...

For a few long minutes, the sunlight found the cobalt glass and set it aglow. That plain, sweet bedroom became a treasure chest gleaming with shards of sapphire, azure and indigo. The colored reflections danced on the walls. The windows gleamed and sparkled and light gathered in flashes against the glossy white woodwork like melted tourmaline and quartz.

I held my breath in those moments.

I could not look away. I tried not to blink.

It was so fanciful and lovely...

Like the bower of a Fairy Queen...

Or the light show of a dream...

I held my breath and let the magical display find its way into my soul...

...and then it was gone...

The windows still sparkled.

The blue glass still gleamed.

The morning sun still lit those East facing windows.

But the particular magic of those long moments had dispersed.

...

...

That's the thing about memory, really.

Times, places and faces might seem gone.

We grieve and try to hold onto childhoods slipping through our fingers, through parents closing their eyes for the last time, through saying goodbye to homes and loved ones.

We clench our fists and hold on so tightly that it hurts, when maybe all we need to do is close our eyes.

Close our eyes and let our souls find the memories...


...of something simple and sweet being transformed into the wondrous magic of our lives.

...
...

This post is linked to Alphabe-Thursdays letter "E" for east facing windows. To read other "E" offerings, just click here.
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20 comments:

Slamdunk said...

Wonderful post Jenny and thanks for creating and sharing such a vivid image. My wife's grandfather installed stainglass windows and windows have a long connection of happiness in her family.

Willoughby said...

Wow....I don't know what else to say. What a beautifully written post.

Our house is over 150 years old, but the windows are all new. The old windows were so charming with their imperfections, but they were in bad shape. We kept a few that I hope to use in other ways some day.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Miss Jenny, I simply love the way you write. You transport to the place you've written about. How I would love to visit this home you speak of it! It sounds so enchanting. Thanks for sharing!

Sue said...

I can definitely feel the magic! And you're right. Sometimes we just have to hold on to those special moments through memory.

I'm glad it is so powerful.

=)

Gattina said...

That all sounds very romantic, but I, a down to earth person think of 21 windows to be cleaned ... lol !

anitamombanita said...

Exquisite. That's what your writing is...and your memories.

Mrs. Adventure said...

The truth: I saw this post hours ago but saved it for my lunch break. Anytime my Jenny goes down memory lane I feel the need to soak up each word as if it were my own thought. Thank you once again for your blog and stories.

One of the things I'm most looking forward to about building our own house is hand picking the windows and doors from salvage yards.

taylorsoutback said...

Another special post that has touched my heart. The images you have brought to mind are so beautiful. We have also lived in houses where there were no window sills to speak of and when we built our retirement home, I asked for wider areas - so glad they are there.

While each Christmas is a treasure, the ones I recall are when our family was so much larger and within easy distance of each other...not so far away as is the case now. And as my own Mom goes through aging issues and who she was begins to disappear, I must close my eyes and remember how it used to be too.

Lola said...

Can feel the magic too!

XOXO Lola:)

Ms. A said...

I think it's my memories I miss most... and windows to let the light in. Not much light from windows in this house. All have been covered to keep out the heat and the ugly view.

beckyp said...

another great post We used to live in an old farmhouse in SC that had windows and sills like the ones you described and in the kitchen I displayed glass bottles on the sills. I loved that farm house! I havent been back to that farm in years but my hubby told me when the owner passed away the wife sold everything and it was all torn down. there are apartments there now or condos

Judie said...

Miss Jenny, you paint the most wonderful and heartwarming pictures with your words. I just love you!!!

Ames said...

Some people only want new and don't see the charm in an older home. Once I moved into my new house, I cried. It felt cold and I felt disconnected. Gone the home of 18 years. So I let it get really dirty. Let it look really lived in, so I could open the door and smell home. Then I cleaned it and now we get along fine. Just as long as I can still open the door and smell us. And my girls helped. They sun in the ray that beams in through our east window.~Ames

Ames said...

.S. I forgot to tell you....I love the way you write!~Ames

Nezzy said...

Oh little lady, this had got to be one of my all time favorites of yours!

Truly magical sweetie!

God bless and have a glorious day my friend! :o)

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Sometimes I forget just how talented you are. This was wonderful, I could almost picture it. We restored a huge historic home back in the early 90's. It had 52 windows and I had to do blinds and curtains for them. We also had the old windows with the ropes. I remember one breaking and the window smashing down on my hand! I didn't have any pretties in the windowsills. Now you make me wish I had.

Pondside said...

Beautiful - transporting - touching.
This was so very beautiful, and for a moment I saw the light in the room and felt filled with borrowed joy.

Julienne said...

What a beautiful read. I am in the middle of cleaning my 28 windows!!!
So the memories are not exactly pleasant ones at present and when I have finished these I have to go and help clean 14 more for the wedding next Saturday that is written about in my E post!!!!!
Tonight I will sit in my pink chair and remember the good things!

H said...

Idyllic.

I love cobalt blue, so I would have cherished those moments too!

Andy said...

Hello.
I could live in these posts of yours. You make everything sound so magical, so enchanting & so romantic. There are some things that never leave our memories.
Another touching & vivid post from you, Jenny.
Thanks for sharing.

For ref:
Eleven Roses And You