I’m not quite sure when it began, but I’ve discovered a new addition to our morning commute to school. Unlike last year, when we walked to school most days as the kids’ building was just a parking lot away from ours, this year we have to drive across town to drop our oldest off first. Though it’s only a few miles away, this cross-town trek and double drop-off takes a good twenty minutes or so.
At the start of the year, we varied our routes learning which ways were clearest and which were sure to take a few minutes more. Within a few weeks, we had our routine down pat. Right out of the complex, left onto Bridge, right onto Kent, then left and another quick right. Follow the road and arrive for drop off number one.
A perpetual passenger, I often find myself staring out the side window, especially during the dark morning drives. I began to notice the windows we passed and I think it began by noticing the soft, warm light of the Tiffany lamp that illuminated the living room of a former colleague. That same lamp, drew me in a few years ago when I would watch for it and whisper prayers of healing, knowing that she sat in her living room recovering from surgery or chemotherapy, and all the while wanting to get back to work. She is now healthy and retired, and the glow of that lamp makes me smile and think about what I hope is joy in her heart.
A few months ago, I began to notice the barber shop downtown. The stark white glow that emanates from the wide window was a stark contrast to the dark windows of most other business on that south side of the street. I began to observe, and sneak glimpses into this shop that, if not for light on a dark morning, I likely wouldn’t have noticed. My observations have left me considering that the barber shop is closed on Mondays. Early morning appointments for men’s haircuts or shaves don’t seem to be in high demand. The barber enjoys sitting in the single red leather chair. I think he does the crossword puzzle in the newspaper each morning.
Similarly, these observations have also left me wondering how long this shop has been open. Why does he open so early? How many customers does he see each day? In some ways, I want to seek answers to these questions. However, there’s something I love about the mystery and uncertainty.
The final window I noticed, is on an upper floor of a home near our youngest child’s school. Now alone in the car, my husband and I head for our school and prepare for our day with students. Still glancing out the window, I happened to see a beautiful wedding veil on a stand in a dimly lit upstairs bedroom. Honestly, I think it’s ambient light streaming in for a hallway or perhaps from the open door of a bathroom where a newlywed couple is brushing their teeth and considering plans for their future. I have no clue who lives in the house, if there’s furniture in the room with the veil. Perhaps the wedding is coming up this spring and it’s the home of the bride’s parents.
These windows, these stories are unknown.
Yet, these windows, these stories have become a part of my story too.