Some people say that the eyes are the window to the soul. If that's true, then it occurred to me that windows must be the eyes of the soul. This is the kind of thing that I thought about as I washed the outside, then the inside, and then looked out into the world.
This old house has seen a lot since it was built in 1895. Staring out onto what must have been a dirt road, watching all the comings and goings. A city grew up around this place. At first, there weren't many neighbors. Inside the house, a family grew up and did the things that families do. They did it without electricity for a while. They sat around a fireplace on cold winter nights. When they went to the windows back then, there were no apartment houses. There was no gas station on the corner. Why would there be?
Years passed, and the kids grew up. And out. Inside the house grew dark. There was no need for all those lights with the kids gone. And still those lonely eyes looked on the the changing world. Eventually, a new family moved in. They filled the place up. A crowd. Inside and out. Now there were electric lights, and a furnace downstairs. And somewhere in there, the house caught fire. There was an accident involving paraffin and boy scouts and suddenly there was more light then ever. Too much. Windows were broken. The fire trucks came, and water came through. Tears in reverse.
For a while, there was no family inside. That was the time it took for the windows to be replaced, along with all the other repairs. The fireplace went away.
Thirty years later, the kids had moved on. As kids will. Outside those apartment buildings had come. The neighborhood was filling up. Outside, life was hustling and bustling. Inside, the light had begun to fade again. That's when we moved in. We bought the house and brought our son into this world. The world with all those windows. We brought a dog to this house. She watched the neighborhood from her perch at the front window. She was watching for the mailman. So incensed at his approach one day, she broke the window through which she had been staring.
No one was hurt.
We've had earthquakes that have rattled the panes. We've had soccer games in the front yard and wiffle ball games in the back. Eventually, we replaced the windows that look out on the back yard, and we've talked about doing the same with the rest of the house. In the meantime, they keep getting dirty. Now there's a little less light coming from the back of the house. Our son is gone. Our dog is gone. The mailman is safe.
Now that the windows are clean again, there is more light coming into the house. That's how the light gets in, after all.