Hello friends. It’s been a while. I know. I’m sorry. Well, not that sorry. If it weren’t for all the shopping, eating, caroling, snow angeling I’ve been doing in the last few weeks, I might be sorry. So. erm. Sorry I’m not sorry.
Now that you’ve (presumably) forgiven me, let’s move on and get back to examining, mocking and loving the Nordic world (or, you know, whatever amuses me at the time).
So, I have this habit of looking into people’s windows. My dad calls it a voyeuristic habit, but it’s nothing of the sort, I assure you (well, there was that one time, but that was a completely unintended, scarring accident). Especially around the holidays, I love to peek into the lives of those around me. I love to look at their trees or menorahs, glance at their decorations, or wonder why they have barren walls.
Sometimes I see families through the snow dusted windows. Crying infants and antsy toddlers scurrying about, leading their parents on the chases that never truly end. Other times I see empty rooms, their occupants having left hours ago to ski or run or face the inevitable and ominous mall Santa line. Some windows spell chaos, with matriarchs and patriarchs running through the halls, toting turkeys and fine china from room to room. Others are serene, with one couple holding hands by the fire.
Every once in a while, I catch the eye of one person, a young boy or aging grandparent, who stands in the window looking out. Behind them chaos continues–gift wrap flying, snowsuits dancing–but they fix their gaze on the outside. I’ve only encountered these people a couple of times, but our meetings have been less startling than one might think. Driving or walking by, I peer at them, and them at me, and they give me a grin, as if it say, “It’s ok, I’m looking too.”
In a high school English class, I remember analyzing a poem about walking down a snowy street and peering into the lit windows at the lives of those within (I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name of the poem, or who wrote it, google’s thrown me for a real loop on this one). It was probably actually about sex, or death, or God (turns out, most poems are), but I read it literally. No matter how content we are with our lives, our eyes always wander, we wonder what it would be like on the other side of the glass.
Last night, as I was continuing my peeking streak, we passed the children’s hospital. From my vantage, far too many rooms were lit up in that tower. All at once, my wandering eye and wondering spirit slowed to a halt, and a flood of gratitude overcame me. As my emotions escalated, the passenger window fogged up (unsurprising, since Foldger’s commercials make me cry these days), and I was forced to uncharacteristically redirect my gaze inward, to those in the car. I glanced at my father and grandmother and was reminded of how lucky I am to be who I am, with those I’m with, and doing what I do.
It’s a common cliche of this time of year, but it deserves saying anyways. As a society, we spend a great deal of time looking into windows. Whether on a house, a Facebook page, or blogs like this one, we yearn for glimpses of different lives we’ve never lived. Nowadays, these glimpses only prove that all I need is standing right behind me. I have everyone I need right here.
If it’s the same for you, close your computer and turn around (but come back and read my blog later!) If not, I hope you find it soon.
Sometime, I’ll probably get back to wondering, I’ll let you decide whether or not you’ll close your blinds.