As far as points of entry go, the window is not often thought of as a reasonable one, excepting of course that errant star of a particular pop music song who decided that not only window, but bathroom window made the most sense. It is typically a daydreamer’s domain of escape, a place to frame the world outside while keeping boundaries intact. A connection to one’s surroundings, though not too direct. But given time, even glass bleeds, lending itself to blending into a haze of a windswept memory of sand that has almost certainly forgotten where it came from. Though I haven’t.
(Is it cheating to know that it comes from sand because of that episode where He-Man needed to make a quick terrarium for a friend and rubbed the sand the right way to make some panes? I’m not sure if it matters how the learning is learned, only that it is. Thanks pop culture of my youth!)
At any rate, we are consistently surrounded by these paneful thresholds which hold promise (and a plant or two if the sill has enough moxy or margin to maintain such things) of where we could be if we only had the wherewithal to find ourselves on the other side of things. A door opens and shuts, lets us in or out, invites crossing, entry, transition but a window mainly offers glimpses of possibility. If you can find the doorway to someone’s heart, it suggests the likelihood of being allowed in, where knowing that the eyes are the windows to the soul is not an invitation to enter so much as a reminder that some things are only accessible by diving or delving and risking returning as someone altered from who set out. Doorways hold that power as well, but stepping through is a conscious undertaking of physical shift, at very least.
Why is it that someone will sit and stare at the sky through a window, but that same sky does not have the same thrall once they’re outside? What is the nature of a window that it creates mystery even while providing clarity?
The house I grew taller in had windows which were metal edged, thin panes on thin tracks which forever squeaked but especially so when I tried to sneak a cigarette out of them during my misspent youth. With a lack of sill, the desire to spend time in that space between held little appeal, and there are more places in my life which lack sill than have abundance of. You’re either in or you’re out sort of places. I crave a happy medium. My dream house definitely has windows with sills large enough for plants, cats, cups of tea, wayward sunbeams and at very least a half hip and quarter leg if not a whole self easily straddling. Which is kind of starting to sound like a window seat. Very well, my dream house shall also have those.
Part of the magic of windows that I see (ha!) are in their inherent illusion of safety. The word sill comes from the Germanic for threshold, which is a crossing place. As in, if we can, others can as well. What’s the first thing someone screams when in a house beset by zombies or perhaps a posse out for frontier justice? That’s right. “Get away from the windows!” Windows might be able to keep out the rain and wind, or even a vampire if they’ve not been invited, but that protection is an illusion. Though I’m suddenly considering that glass is comprised of the silica part of sand, which makes it akin to salt, does it not? Which, as everyone knows is a brilliant barrier against angry wizards and the wrong kind of demons and stuff, thanks to my pop culture education.
(I’ve just spent 12 seconds looking for the origin of threshold. I couldn’t find anything definitive so I’ve decided that as threshing is a way to separate the wheat from the chaff, it’s a way of creating a barrier between that which we want in our lives and that which we would rather leave out. Yes, I just did that oh so very human thing where I thought something might be true and since it makes enough sense to me, I’ll just abide by that until someone tells me different but I’m not totally into the rabbit hole of threshold origins at the moment so I’ll leave it for now. If you know, feel free to correct me.)
There is some poetry in the first writing prompt of the month focusing on a threshold of sorts, a place of potential which has the power to let in light while keeping us from becoming too weathered too quickly. Where a door invites us to commit to stepping through, engaging with whatever comes (unless you’re a cat), a window is content to show us, so that we can take our time and be well prepared when it comes time to step outside of what is familiar.
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