Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Today I opened the windows

I opened all three windows in the kitchen and the window in the downstairs bathroom. While that may not sound like a big deal, and in the greater scheme of things it really isn't, it was a very big deal to me. The heat of a Charlotte summer is not conducive to much window opening. Recent ant trails rendered the idea of opening the windows foolhardy. So for months, two of the kitchen windows and the bathroom window remained shut. (The one window over the sink is opened more often than the others.)

One of the kitchen window frames had been invaded by a spider. That rather industious critter had erected a rather elaborate home for itself which served as an ample pantry for its edible delights. When I opened that window, the spider retreated into one corner of its web and waited to see what rather large intruder would soon be transformed into its winter store of food. In the adjacent window sill, a variety of flying and crawling critters had met their doom. I assume it was death by starvation as the cracks around window screen had allowed them to enter, but they couldn't make their way back out.

I sprayed with an earth-friendly cleaner, let it sit for a minute or two, and then wiped out the debris. Yuck. I followed that with an application of earth-friendly orange oil based bug repellent, and left the windows open. Fresh air circulates in my kitchen and bathroom even as I write. The fragrant scent of orange oil is pleasant to our nasal palates, but apparently it is toxic to the critters that would make our home their own.

On Saturday at that writing conference, I opened the windows to my heart and soul. Dead critters that had entered but hadn't been swept out were lying in the corners and crevices of my dusty, dingy mind. The cobwebs were thick with carcasses of things that brought fleeting satisfaction in days gone by, but had long since been stripped of any nutritional value. I knew it was all there; I could see it. The windows were shut, yes, but I could see through the pains/panes into the window sill. Yuck.

I wrote about ice wine and unharvested corn that had puckered and wilted on the stalk. I wrote about sadness and sorrow. I cried for myself and my thirsty soul. I thought about friends that matter and fears that don't. I pondered the patterns I'd established: patterns of codependence, of self-pity, and of pretending I'm perfect. If I'm perfect, or act like I'm perfect, I don't have to admit to the messiness, the staleness, the deadness that sometimes feels more real than anything else in my life.

This morning I pulled out Michael Yaconelli's Messy Spirituality again. His opening sentence is the story of my windowsills and the story of my life. Quite simply, honestly, and profoundly, he begins: "My life is a mess." It was after I'd read the first chapter of that book for the third or fourth time that I got up, grabbed the Sun and Earth cleaning spray, a bunch of paper towels, and opened that first spidery window.

Enough is enough.
It's time to clean house,
starting with the window closest to where
I was sitting as I read.

Cool fresh air poured in.
Sunshine poured in.
The sills are clean and bug-free.
It smells great.

For now.
Within a very short time, I will have to do it again.
Ain't that just like life?


Nancy said...

I think I need to do some cleaning too Gail. I'm wondering if the windows to my soul are as streaked as my kitchen window? I feel about as dusty inside as the white layer I noticed this morning on the trim along the sides of the staircase. Perhaps the condition of our houses do something to do with our inner condition. Interesting thought to ponder.
As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You speak to my heart!

GoGo said...

Yep, that's about right. Cleaning windows are my vain right now. I live in a house that has been broken up into apartments. The windows from the above apartments have never been cleaned, nor have the eaves trough, nor the shadey vines growing around them. When it rains the dirt pours down on my windows. I can only muster cleaning them twixe a year only to watch them dirty quickly.

Good luck with your windows. Thanks for the story.