I believe my room is blind. All you think about while you’re in it are the windows, but these go nowhere. There are two tall windows that blink outward at strange angles. Each faces the merging of the corners of two brick buildings. Where the right window faces, there is about a two-inch crack between the two buildings. Right now I can see the yellow grey of the night sky, a solid fog keeping those black solid masses apart. I thought it would be difficult, not having windows that can see. I now only wonder how much sky is enough.
Why is it that when we look through windows, we see both memories and possibility in absolute clarity and in the stillest way?
I see the echo of morning sunlight seeping through the closed blinds. The transparency of the curtains dilutes the light like fog, softening it but giving it a glow felt at no other time. The town lies beyond, expectant, familiar. They’ll know by now. I sit watching the light honey swirl and effervesce. With my injury, it takes me longer than usual to successfully maneuver my chair away from the sun’s soft blade.
So much sky contained in that small window. When my head was too heavy to lift I would look out from my sheets upon that wide face of sky. The moon always seemed to hang in the same spot. When I couldn’t find a star, I felt overlooked. From that window I could see where the sky met the earth so clearly. Every morning I would run my eyes along the same seam of field and sunrise. So many nights I would look down on the moonlit earth and be stirred, becoming so restless that I would need to walk in the night dew for a time before I felt satisfied. God’s voice couldn’t pierce the window in the same way. I would quietly leave the house with only a little fear and let his sky, his night, envelop me. I would always think I had something to say, but nearly every time I was lost in listening. For so long I thought He was the sky, and the wind His whisper. Sometimes it would pull and press at my window until the glass groaned.
Can a window give false freedom? I remember watching the bean rows fly so fast, spider legs running. When I pressed the pedal. the ground became a river, the grass became like light, but the sky was always, always still. I never realized until now how badly I wanted the sky to move.
I was looking through this window when our cars crashed together, heavy magnets held closer and closer until the force of their pull snaps. I wasn’t looking.
I think about the stretching stillness of the sky when our bodies were tossed cracked bruised and thrown so specifically.
Dickinson thought poems fled from the sky. I think what she meant is that when we are face to face with sky, there is nothing to say. Everything is yes.
Later when I needed a window, there was none. While I waited on doctors and family and knowledge, my mind needed to travel, to slip out and away, but I was trapped. Before going mad I searched the clock on the wall and let myself feel inside it. No, not a window. But there was space behind the small plastic covering, just room enough to stand between the six and seven. The minute hand paused at five, unnerved.
When I came to the city I was amazed to see the closeness of windows, their direct gazes. Where did people hide here?
Miles and miles
Here it is not so easy to see the sky. It becomes very easy to forget where I am and what the sky means, when there are such high walls and ceilings. When walking around the streets of Chicago, the buildings eat and scrape the sky with their sharp heads. Those buildings jeer. But the lake’s gentle face draws people. Here sky is endless, encompassing, always bigger and further than the longest street or highest tower. The water made the sky seem deep. I think around water voices are clearest.