Noticing: From the Window

Our neighbor is just leaving for work in his white van with a ladder on top. He sidles out of his driveway, past the garbage workers who are dumping the contents of his trash can into the maw of their truck. Unless the snowplows push it into the ditch first, the empty can will sit there at the end of the driveway until their son comes home from school to trundle it back up the lane.

The truck turns at the end of the street, passes again to clean up the right side of the road. “Think Green. Think Clean.” I wish they would bend their rules and pick up the two enormous TV’s that another neighbor set out beside the road before Christmas. We have not subscribed to garbage pickup here. All our recyclables collect in bins in the shop, and once they are spilling over suitably, we bag them up for the recycling place. Cardboard gets saved for my mulching purposes, and the rest we burn. It’s shocking how much garbage our family produces even with all those green-ish things we do.

This office window looks out through the sunporch to the front yard and the road. Right now the window is very dirty. It must have been overlooked when the sunporch windows were last cleaned. In the summertime the bushes outside make a complete screen of Rose of Sharon and lilac bushes, and in winter there is no sun, so there is rarely any reason to sit in the sunporch. I hanker to take off the awnings all around, but Gabriel thinks it might get too hot without them. Also, they protect the very old single panes out there. Thirteen windows, and four of them have an old fashioned hinge to open wide to the breezes. We hung strings of lights out there and installed a stained glass light fixture we found at a thrift store. There is an old sofa along the wall where Addy likes to sit all wrapped in blankets and listen to her audiobooks. Rita keeps her broom corn in a loose shock in the corner. She has not made the brooms she planned, but her rabbit loves the broom corn, eating his way all along the stalk, out to the sweet grains at the end. Dessert after all his vegetable fiber.

There are hooks for jackets, and a tray for boots, but we don’t use that entrance much. Somehow it seems easier to track snow and mud in through the kitchen. We do store firewood on the porch, and today would be a great day to use some of it in the fireplace. The snow is fuzzing down, and I am so blessed by the whiteness blanketing the world. When the ground is pristine, the spirits lift around here.

The view would be improved if I stowed the Christmas decor in that tote on the table outside this window. I used dried hydrangeas and other seed pods to decorate this year, painting some of them with silver and white spray paints. I was pleased with the result, but my family snickered politely about my “sad beige” decorations. “What’s wrong with holly and pine and berries?” they wanted to know. The big idea was to decorate with what is available around here, and then throw it away, but I can’t bear to pitch the hydrangeas so there they still are in my sunporch.

My twenty minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing is up, thank goodness. This window doesn’t have an ample view. Something happens, though, when I really zoom in on a smallish spot in the house; I notice things that I could do to improve things, which is always a housekeeping triumph when the brain is sluggish. That tote will be taken to the attic, even if I haven’t wrapped up the strings of LED lights yet.

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