Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette







Saturday, August 15, 2009

With the Window Open

I spent the night with the window open.

When I was a child, this was no oddity - there was no air-conditioning to take the damp from the air, chill it down, raise up goose flesh, hum through the hours.

I lived by the sea. At night, the breeze would freshen, blow in from the water to touch the land, gentle, hesitant, just stirring the curtains framing my window with a sigh. Sometimes a fog would creep up, although it was more usual for morning light to be softened with that grey cloak.

I spent the night with the window open.

I would listen to the small sounds of the late hours, listen to the rustle of fabric as the sheer panels across the black expanse of glass would flutter restlessly, like a lady's gown as she shifted on her feet a little, waiting for her partner to claim this dance.

Sometimes, the wind was bold. It would whistle through the screen, a jaunty tune meant to coax a curious child outside, out of the safety of the quiet house and into the uncertainty of the dew speckled lawn, down to the shore where waves reached with hungry darkness for their earthen mistress.

I spent the night with the window open.

On rare occasions, the air would crackle, alive, as a storm rolled in. Then the screen would vibrate, hum, the wind shrieking through its tiny openings, a beansidh wailing outside the walls, reaching supple fingers down the house chimneys, sending the mice scurrying for the safety of their corners in the attics. It made eddies in the empty spaces of my room, tugged at my nightgown and my hair before sliding under my door, down the hall, around corners, seeking out other playmates.

I would draw open the curtains and stand, staring out beyond the field that rolled down to the water, black silk puddling to the horizon. Moon or no moon, I knew she was there, Mother Oshun. Sometimes I could hear her, murmuring her song, the cresting waves her eternal chorus. I would stand and breathe in her scent - brine, damp, weed, sand, stone - for an hour or more, still and serene. I would breathe in the storm, undaunted by the chill, the edge in the air.

I spent the night with the window open.

I recall evenings when I had to dive back into my bed, roll onto my side, feign sleep, when adult feet would hurry to my room. A voice, sometimes my grandmother, sometimes the nanny (babysitter, nanny, companion - she was the daughter of our grandmother's housekeeper, hired to ride herd on us over the summer) voicing hushed dismay at the open window, at the cold, muttering about the mad child who would sleep with the window open despite asthma, despite dire predictions she'd catch her death because she let in the mad wind and threw off her covers to sleep exposed to his touch.

They would ask me why. Why? Wasn't I cold? Didn't I shiver? Didn't I mind the creeping damp? Didn't my lungs grow heavy? I never had an answer - I knew why I wanted the wind in my room, the air moving, stirring about, brushing stray strands of hair from my face with gentle fingers. I knew why I wanted Mother Oshun to have a way to croon to me in my sleep, or (as often) my wakefulness. I knew that I was waiting for something. Only - I could not give voice to this knowing, because there were no words to shape it, no way to define it to human ken.

I spent the night with the window open.

I am far from the shore, now. If there is anything of the sea in the fitful breezes that find their way through the one small window of my bedroom, I cannot detect it. There is no rushing hush of wave on sand, no sea-borne damp to speckle my skin with salt.

Still. Still...

I spent the night with the window open, and in rolled the songs of night creatures that do not love the shore, an ebb and flow of a different sort. In the stillness, they sang the nightly chorus - a country dance rather than seafaring reel, a more earthy note to the tune. I could smell trees, earth, leaf and loam. It is a different perfume to fill my nostrils with its richness, but speaking equally to the wild in me. I longed to go out into the yard, beyond the house and to the woods, where shadows and shades twined through the trees, tangling strands in the branches and weaving the trunks together, making of the many a whole entity, a living, breathing place that welcomes those who tread the path lightly, surely, knowingly.

Before I slept I stood as in my youth, at the window, staring out into the night, seeking that same indefinable something that calls me out if the confines of civilized life, away from squared corners, protecting (smothering) walls, binding cloth and human strictures and into something primal, deeper than words can say. One day...one day...I will answer.

For now...I spend the night with the window open and take in measured doses what my spirit craves in its fullness.

4 comments:

Tina (in Sweden) said...

I love this!

Holly said...

Blogger has been acting queer, and though you wrote this beauty yesterday, it didn't show up until today.

Because I can tell you, I would have told you before now that this is beautiful and I really, truly loved it.

Holly said...

Blogger has been acting queer, and though you wrote this beauty yesterday, it didn't show up until today.

Because I can tell you, I would have told you before now that this is beautiful and I really, truly loved it.

Kyddryn said...

Tina, welcome - and thanks!

Mizz Holly, thank you - I AM glad you enjoyed it!