You said, ‘What do you see?’
If you’d asked me this morning this is what I would have said.
The window I look through is curtained with a dark overhang. Today is wet with snow. The pane is peppered with heavy drops and streaks obscuring my view. Like a shower curtain, it’s hard to see through, and the snow outside is driving at forty -five degrees. Protractor perfect, my view is a neat maths problem begging to be solved. How can it be so regular in this ragged human world?
The fourth layer in is what’s actually there, what I have to strain to see. Through the pane, the dirt, the weather, to find what’s actually in front of my eyes. Is it always like this? Obstructions in my perception? No, I rarely feel so low. I usually find myself in fresh air on a clear blue day. But how often recently am I there? That’s why I choose to come here.
The snow is getting heavier, the flakes larger, the sideways mist makes me feel half blind. Vague shapes, blurred colours, no detail, not fine.
There’s a white house, a grey wall, a brown tree. Real, or dull constructs of my busy mind? A car roof enters the bottom of the frame as it halts at the junction. It’s engine slowly ignites again, it takes off, turns. Right down the hill, it’s tyres still grip. How long until the sliding and the slipping begin?
I examine the sky. It’s unfair, a pale grey, puking snow. It’s not sticking though, it’s wet and too warm. It puddles in pools and in gutters pours down drains. On the grass it’s in clumps, under the quiet shade of the trees. No birds out there, they must be huddled to avoid this freeze. It’s not quite spring yet, although the date and the clock might try to persuade me it is. It’s chilly in here too, I don’t want to get up. Should I stay in bed?
‘Yes please’ I shout towards the kitchen ‘another cup would be lovely.’
But now? You said, ‘What do you see?’
I turn your question over. Think and observe.
I’ve connected, I’ve questioned, I’ve listened, I’m learning. Am I still freezing, still covered with clouds?
I look up to the light. Search for the frame. It’s not a window like when I woke up. Here it’s more like a glass enclosure, a conservatory, a sun room, and the day has changed. It’s not the same as was when I first opened my eyes. This is a different case. I stare through the clear space that seems to separate me from inside and out. What is it? Glass? Perspex? A transparent skin, an unbiased glance. Whatever it is, the weather has changed.
I feel warm. I don’t remember when I stopped being cold. My protective layers are redundant on the back of my chair.
The light fills the space, I feel it in my body not just on my face. I see everyone else is shining, fresh, smiling. I can hear how my wife would describe it; ‘full of grace’ I hear her kind voice say.
I examine the sky. It’s fifty shades of blue, not a hint of grey. Each one taking me further out as I stare deeper, beyond where I dared to look before. Like an endless sea, my perfect picture comes rushing back to me. It’s out there after all.
I look up. On the roof, like kites, ropes of cloth pennants fly. A white bird cage stands empty, it’s prisoner gone, and the frame around the whole view is strung with twinkling fairy lights. Flowers drip down at irregular intervals too, interwoven with bright butterflies, like ribbons pulled out of the sky. It’s a magical sight. For what reason had I not noticed this before? There’s also a shelf filled with teapots of every shape, colour and size. One square, a miniature house, one round, a horse carousel, beside a stout one with blue, orange and yellow polka dots painted on its green side. Another shelf, higher up, with what looks like unicorn horns lying side by side. Some curled, some straight, some longer than others, all the sharp ends pointing away to distant sights, drawing my eye outwards.
I know what I choose. This vista, stretching wide, endless views. Bright colours, possibilities, hope too.
You said ,‘What do I see?’ From this room, right now, the view looks brand new. And boy can I smell the coffee.