Window seats have always charmed me.  Perhaps I’m a bit of a romantic, but I’ve always thought a window seat would be the perfect place to read.  Not possessing one of my own, many years ago I invented a solution:  I began sitting on the floor beside my bedroom window.

With my back resting against an iron bed frame, my left shoulder shoved against a bit of wall where the bed and wall form a corner, and my left elbow on the windowsill, my “window seat” is not the most comfortable place to sit.  As I read, I shift into three or four different positions as various parts of me begin to ache or fall asleep.  Occasionally, I soften my seat with pillows or set my desk chair in the window corner, but I usually prefer the bare floor.

Butterfly on zinnia
Photograph by Arrietty

In spite of all the uncomfortableness, the spot is worth sitting in.  The window faces the east, and my spot is flooded with light throughout the day, making it one of the best-lit areas in my house.  I also enjoy the view.  When I glance out the window, I see flowers, grass, the vegetable garden, and trees.  The spot is peaceful and removed from household bustle, and I often sit with the bedroom light off, enjoying the copious sunlight.  Most often, I plop down by the window to read, but sometimes I bring a notebook and pencil instead, ready to record my observations of the world outside. Hummingbirds sip from flowers and then zip by in a blur of green iridescent feathers, squirrels play in the grass, and lizards hunt on the outside windowsill.  I have written several poems about the garden, animals, and rain outside while curled up in the window corner.

Admittedly, the view out the window can distract me from my reading, but that’s not always bad, and I tend to be easily distracted wherever I am.  Once when I gazed out the window, neglected book in hand, I spotted a snake gliding nonchalantly through the flower bed a few feet away.  I had seen this view so many times before that the blue racer looked alien in the familiar scene, and yet it seemed naïvely unaware of how it didn’t belong.

On another occasion, I was looking out at the flower garden and penning a poem about it when I saw a turtle trundling in the grass nearby.  I decided to include the turtle in my poem; it reminded me of how often the world contains surprises which I only catch when my head is up.

Carolina wrens
Top: Carolina wren photo from Wikipedia; Bottom: My sketch of a wren, based on a watercolor illustration in “Bird Songs” by Les Beletsky

Just this past Sunday afternoon, a flutter at the window caught my eye.  Looking up from my book, I saw a little Carolina wren had alighted on the outside brick windowsill, inches from my face.  It hopped back and forth across the sill, chirping cheerily.  I stayed very still and followed its little brown figure with my eyes, trying to note every detail before it flew away.  Then the wren hopped onto the window screen.  Its little claws clinging to the screen, it began progressing vertically up my window.  Finally, with a quick flutter of wings, it flew off to the vegetable garden and was gone.

Often when we set out to do something, we don’t delve into the “why’s” of what we do.  I doubt that when I designated my window corner as a new reading spot I was thinking about logical reasons why I was making my decision.  I made no pro and con chart.  Probably my brief explanation would have been “because it’s well-lit, and it’s kind of like a window seat.”  Only after years of enjoying the spot have I come to realize the many reasons why I like and continue to use the window corner.  My “window seat” is a special place where I can read books, write poems, or sit and observe the beauty of God’s creation that blooms, slithers, trundles, hops, and flutters in the world just outside my window.

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