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Windows Open

Windows Open
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle
Windows Open
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle

After I vacuumed the house this past weekend, I reached for a microfiber cloth and a can of lemon-scented Pledge to complete my cleaning routine. I stood next to a nightstand in our bedroom and wiped the dust from the surface, then flipped the cloth over to examine the dust. That’s when I saw it.

The dust wasn’t the grayish color it usually is when I clean the items of our home’s interior. The dust buildup on the rag was almost yellow.

I looked up at the window next to our bed — the top sash was wide open and a springtime breeze blew in and caressed my face.

Yes, our windows have been open this week — a glorious ending to the wintertime chill — and as a result, microscopic pollen has blown into the house, creating a greenishyellowish layer on countertops and furniture surfaces. And I don’t mind this at all.

In fact, that pollen makes me happy. Neither of us have severe allergies, and the pollen blowing into the house is just a by-product of having our windows open.

In the spring and fall, my husband and I fling open our windows as if they are long-shuttered portals to a forgotten world. We celebrate the milder temperatures and the turning of the seasons with air so fresh I find it hard to describe it with mere words.

In the evening, we listen to the symphony that comes drifting into our house — a lullaby that no manmade white noise machine or television could ever replicate. We drift off to sleep to a chorus of crickets and the occasional barking of a distant dog. We share our evenings with the rhythmic calling of whippoorwills and the occasional hoots of owls. Somewhere far away, I sometimes hear a train’s whistle signal its journey to the sleeping world, and then it is gone again. And some nights, I wake to the gentle pitter-patter of a passing rain shower, the water droplets tap dancing on the roof, dripping from the leaves of trees, and gifting the morning with a sheen of sparkling dew.

And speaking of the morning, when our windows are cracked, we awaken slowly and gently to roosters crowing at our neighbor’s farm and hundreds of birds greeting the day with their love songs. The sunrise awakens these creatures, and they wake us like they are our personal alarm clocks.

The air, cooled and sweetened with the blooming of spring flowers, fills the rooms of our home with perfume. It takes me back to a place I’ve never been before — a time and place before noisy, humming air conditioners, when our ancestors slept on screened porches and breathed in the freshness of every night. It reminds me a bit of camping excursions when I was a child — witnessing the deep, darkness of the woods at nighttime and sleeping underneath a quilt of endless, sparkling stars.

The air streams in, and the sheer curtains flutter with each gift of breeze — even witnessing the movement of the curtains is simply mesmerizing.

And that’s what filled my mind last weekend when I saw the pollen on my dust rag and lifted my face to that open window in my bedroom, taking in a deep, cleansing breath.

Keeping our windows open for two or three weeks in the springtime is a simple ritual that peels back the stagnant layers of winter and fills every corner of our home with a freshness that reminds us that it is time to get outside and plant vegetables and flowers and feel the sunshine on our faces again. It’s a communion with nature and a reminder that some of the finest things in life are just outside our windows.

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