Sometimes I like to imagine what it must have been like a hundred years ago, sitting in the front room of our house, looking out on the sidewalks that may or may not have been in decent repair. The houses next door were not apartment buildings. There was plenty of space between neighbors, and the sun could easily find its way in the front window anytime after noon. But in the twenty-first century, this old Victorian sits in a man-made canyon that casts shadows that defy the changing seasons.
As part of our post-burglary reclamation, we have been looking into all forms of entrance and egress from our premises. Doors and windows have been fixed, latched and repaired. Living in a house that was built in 1895 requires that we make these changes with some sense of history. Part of that history is our own. The drapes in the front room have kept the heat in and helped channel our view of the 'hood around us, but they needed to come down after years of inattention by us and our dog's curious habit of licking those parts that were closest to her.
We took them down. We laundered them. When we took them out of the washing machine, those years of wear and tear showed more tear than wear, and the decision was made to get new curtains. But a magical thing happened: With the curtains off the windows, the light came in. It made me think of a time, perhaps more than a hundred years ago, when ours was the only house on the street. When the street was a road. When our neighborhood was an orchard. When the sun came in the windows every day.
We'll get new curtains. The rainy season is on its way. But I won't forget the light we had.