I raised the shades the other day and I've been enchanted with the light and the view ever since. (pardon my inadequate late-afternoon cell-phone photo.) Its not that there is anything particularly lovely outside (there is not) but just that Ilike the light, and the fact that the shades are up and the house is open rather than shaded.
The windows in this room, and the screened in porch beyond it, were one of the things that sold me on this particular house but for the last year, the blinds have been primarily kept closed. George grew so he hated the feeling of the sun on his skin, and became increasingly paranoid about being in the light so we installed blinds, not opaque blinds, translucent ones, and the light was always filtered. Granted, George would sit in the brightest corner, a point from which he could see everything going on in the house around him, that same bright corner currently occupied by the caramel-colored barrel chair. That corner was formerly occupied by George's reclining chair (photo here), which he called the elephant, and which I had to remove as its presence became something of an elephant in the room after his death, where it seemed concentrate all the emptyness and lonliness of the house.
The elephant chair, and the closed blinds, were, in some ways, physical representations or symbols of the closing in of George's world, the way the world as a whole was falling away and the present was becoming smaller and smaller. I recognized the need to eliminate the elephant immediately, although it took me a few days to find the right arrangement of furniture to fill the void left by its absense. And yet, it did not occur to me to open the windows until last week. I simply floated around in that filtered light, cocooned until it occurred to me that the goal was not to fold myself inward, but to open my eyes and look outward. It was time to let in the light.
Now, I love to sit in that corner in the afternoon with a cup of tea and the mail, reveling in the light, often with a cat on my lap. Sometimes while I sit I think how happy I am, sitting in this corner in this chair, and I recall, with some amusement, that these two chairs barely made it from New York. I wanted to leave them behind and was talked into keeping them at the last minute. Once here, they didn't seem to fit anywhere and I was constantly fretting with them and shifting them hither and yon, until now, where they seem to have found the perfect spot.
How much of our move has followed this same pattern? Indeed, is this not true of much of life? We are always moving forward, and yet we try to shape the world to our preconceived notions of what we think we want. And yet past experience is not necessarily predictive of the shape of future events. Different places, different people, different interactions, allow the light to reflect off different facets of our complex and multi-faceted personalities. As we grow in experience we can allow ourselves to be open to the new, to let go of expectation.
At least this is what I hope. I'm still working on that one. I tend to be the fruit that clings to the tree, and yet I don't want to cling until I am too soft to bounce once I do fall.