Let me go to the window
I know a doctor who believes everyone needs a window to the outside world no matter where he lives or where he works. I mean a literal window. Although the doctor is a surgeon rather than a psychiatrist, he is offering this opinion from a psychological point of view.
To demonstrate the depth of feeling behind his statement, upon moving into a newly-constructed clinic building and assigned to an office without a window, he paid with his own money to have a hole knocked in the outer brick wall and to have a window installed where there had been only solid mass before.
"I need to see the sky and the rain and the grass to keep from going crazy," he told me.
His viewpoint is not particularly unique. Where do you think the term "cabin fever" or, more appropriate yet, "stir crazy" originated? True, those concepts have to do with a bit more than a windowless room, but they are treading down the same roadway.
The townhouse in which I lived last summer was pretty much identical to the one I am in now except for the view provided from the window. Last summer, from the front window, I saw only another row of townhouses a few yards away across a narrow street.
Now, compare that to the window in this townhouse. While not offering a look at the most picturesque landscape imaginable, it reveals a glimpse of river bottomland filled with trees which is typical of the southern Minnesota countryside and provides occasional sightings of a variety of wildlife.
Like my doctor friend, I agree than any window is better than no window, but I would argue that the real value for having one to look through rests upon what is to be seen beyond the glass and in its value/meaning to the beholder.
To serve a real purpose, I believe that a window must offer a vision which not only draws the person toward it -- no matter if it is drawing one outside or inside -- but into it, and even beyond it, to who knows where.
Perhaps, now would be a good time to renew a friendship with Alice, to discover if the window really is a window or, actually, is a mirror and, possibly, to follow her "Through the Looking-Glass."
At a Window
by Carl Sandburg
Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!
But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.