Monday, March 15, 2010

Out My Kitchen Window

The bitter morning air crept into the corners of my pea coat and threatened to make every part of me as cold as the concrete my keds treaded upon, but I didn’t care. I had finished my final! I walked slowly with relief, smiling at the rosy cheeks that rushed passed me on their hurried way to the library. Poor things, they still had finals to come. Outside, the chill softened all noise, so deciphering any chatter on campus was impossible until the point of our crossing on the sidewalk, and even then I could only catch a few words. One of the phrases I happened to catch was, “Out my kitchen window…” It came from a humbly dressed lady with a pleasant face and an even more pleasant voice. I would guess she’s a professor, one who takes great delight in classic literature, her flower garden and a warm cup of coffee. However, it was not the visage of the women that stuck with me, it was her words.

“Out my kitchen window…”

The phrase kept me company all the walk home. I thought the words very lovely, and the more I pondered them the warmer my heart became. Do you not think it one of the most pleasant phrases you’ve ever heard? Perhaps I think so, because of the value of my own childhood kitchen window. The surrounding winter scenery now became a still canvas to project old warm memories upon, the first a vision of a simple and quaint glass fixture, my kitchen window. I envisioned its white trim and unpolished, weather-torn surface sitting in front of the worn out sink; over looking a portion of the backyard. The door step to this kitchen window was a place for my dad to watch his favorite one-eyed bird perch on the feeder, a place for my mom to glance at her blooming pansies hanging in the flower box my dad crafted for her, and for me it was a place that captured what was dearest to me. It is a portal of hope and thankfulness. In the morning it brought to me-- light. Long rays would reach between the neighbor’s roofs, pass through the branches of the Bradford Pears across the street, weave around the cracks in the wooden fence and finally force their way to exposure beyond the edges of the blinds. Every morning that I took the time to notice this golden gift, I would find hope in the view of a dim room transforming into glory as I slowly lifted the cheap blinds. The morning view from this humble window, embodied hope of a new day, hope of people yet to see and conversations yet to have. So, to me a kitchen window is hope.

My day would go on, I would see the people I hoped to see and have the conversations that I envisioned to have while standing in front of the golden portal that morning, yet it would not be too long until I was before this portal again, but not at morning time. During the day or maybe creeping toward sunset I would find myself peering through the glass lens again, not on a planned routine mind you, at random something beyond the kitchen would catch my eye. Perhaps I might see my mom grabbing the hose to water the flowers, or I might see my sisters crouching behind the A.C. unit (one of the favored hide and seek hideouts). I always expected them to look over and see me starring at them, but they never did. That is the beauty of a kitchen widow, a place to watch a beautiful scene unfold, while remaining unnoticed. As moments like these were captured, I was flooded with thoughts of thankfulness. I was thankful for the merry tune I could hear my mom humming, thankful for the shriek of my sister upon being discovered from her sneaky hideaway. So to me a kitchen window is thankfulness as well.

A kitchen window is a live picture frame of what means most in your life. Therefore, a kitchen window does not have to be a window at all; it can be any place that you quietly observe and absorb that which warms your heart. So, to a poor grandmother in Africa, a kitchen window may be the open pathway of her one room hut, from which she can happily watch her grandkids kick up the red dirt as they chase each other in circles and melodious laughter. For a doctor in Korea, it may be the doorframe from which he watches his dream come true, to see lives saved in the emergency room. The list is limitless and endless. The window’s frame, whatever size it comes in or through whichever situation it comes through, captures a snapshot of life, just like that of a photograph. But the snapshot captured by a kitchen window is far superior. A photo can hold a certain likeness of that which warms your heart, but a kitchen window captures the precious moment of the present. You can let yourself fully enjoy the view because it is reality of the now.

So when I think of “out of my kitchen window…” I think of hope in golden light, thankfulness in distant laughter and smiles all around the world.

My kitchen window will change from year to year, from decade to decade, but I do not fear loosing it, for where there is hope, I will find my kitchen window. Whether in this country or that, with these people or those, in sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, on this side of heaven or the other, my hope will still be found.