Monday, March 04, 2013

Welcoming the Light

". . . I think your windows are the most important part of your home. Whether your furnishings are Louis Quatorze or cast-offs, your windows overlook the matchless blue of the sky, the silver glow of a young moon, or the black-purple of piled storm clouds galloping. Looking out keeps you from fretting because the chores aren't done or the washing machine won't work or it is time to change the beds again (a chore I absolutely hate). The vast outside brings a sense of proportion to you and a kind of quietness."  -Gladys Taber, from her book Country Chronicle

When I read Gladys Taber, it reminds me of conversations I used to have with my mother-in-law. She could talk about anything and would meander from subject to subject in a soothing voice. I miss her and I miss those conversations. Gladys is a great stand-in, from the same generation and with eclectic interests. The only drawback is that it is a one-sided conversation! So I'll use my blog to "answer" Gladys and especially her comments about windows being the most important part of the house.

I'm thinking of the window in the 1890s Dutch Colonial house, where we lived when my children were babies. The wavy glass in the panes brought in so much light and pleasure to this tired mama. I nursed babies from a rocking chair and watched the huge old apple tree through the carousel of seasons. From pinkish-white blossoms to mature fruit, I took delight in it each and every day to the point of feeling it was my special friend. It also gave rise to much meditation, as I thought upon the budding personalities in my charge and the hope of one day witnessing their fruitful maturity. 

Upstairs, in that same house, we could view the top of the apple tree from my bedroom window. Squirrels would often leap from the tree to the rooftop and my toddlers enjoyed watching their antics. One day an especially violent thunderstorm rolled through and I remember my oldest daughter and my son sitting with me at that window, spellbound as we watched the hail fly and the wind bend the old tree. We were hushed as we watched, with the window open, and there was imparted a special something into our souls: the awe of the Creator who holds the hail in His storehouse. 

In our current house, we have a large window by our dining table that allows us to enjoy beauty each and every time we sit down to eat. Purple clematis, lilacs, and a peace rose may be seen blooming during the spring and summer. One year, I planted huge sunflowers right in front of the window and we delighted to watch the goldfinches alight on the huge blossoms, oblivious to our  presence. 

I've seen the replica sod houses that the pioneers lived in, especially here in Nebraska, and I wonder, how did the family make it through a long dreary winter without the light of a window? I shudder to think of how dreary that must have been. 

When I get up in the morning, early, before the rest of the family, the first thing I do is open the shades and curtains to let the light into my home. I love that job---welcoming the light. While it seems a small thing, it is indicative of the great opportunity I have as a homemaker: to be a gatekeeper for the light. Let it shine!

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