They were the first thing I wanted to update when we moved into this house. Most of the windows wouldn’t open: they’d been painted shut and looked nearly shellacked with caulking. Instead, we had to re-roof the house; renovate the bathroom; put up a fence. Every year something else needed tending.
I’d researched the exact windows I wanted. Wood, double hung so they’d open from the top as well as the bottom for better air circulation, and double pane.
It kept not happening. This is our fifth year in the house and a month ago, new windows were still years away.
I stood in the living room with the dogs, and looked out the sad, grimy view when it finally occurred to me. Can these windows be restored?
I asked the dogs.
I asked the windows themselves.
I asked Mary.
And finally, I asked our friend, Wakan, who knows about these things. “Yes,” he said, looking them over. “Yes, I can open these. I can build you screens. Easy.”
And here we are, weeks later, with the final coat of paint on our beautiful, double hung, wood windows. (They are only single pane, but they are freaking fierce.)
They were there all along. They were waiting for me to notice. For me to realize. For me to imagine.
This house is like love. I have plans for it that keep getting body checked by reality, by circumstance. I like order, but instead I have this house. This strange, miraculous house.
I walk through it at night now and stare out the windows as though I’ve never seen before. The night through the single pane. The breeze winding through top and bottom. Everything more wild. Less certain. Older, brighter, cool as fuck.