All The Windows in New York City

Ireland 1034

 

I have seen them from inside and outside.

Modern and ancient; clean-lined and ornate; translucent and opaque; smooth and mottled; wood and stone; blindingly clean, sealed and soundless, and noisily battered with rain or softly thunked by quarter-sized flakes of soft snow, plastered by high winds with soaked brown leaves; large even planes and swirling leaded glass; clear, colorless, and bursting with every hue.  Still and empty and alive with interior light and celebration.  Below ground and at dizzying heights.  Midnight black reflecting licks of sunset’s roaring, angry yellow and vermillion, and casting grey stone into magenta, as if a city burns across the way.

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I’ve seen my own ghost reflected in them, my skin outlined in orange and my hair sun-tipped bright copper as I contemplated the outdoors nearly every day, in every season.

I have pressed a febrile forehead against their cool glass in winter.

I’ve looked through openings in ancient castles and beheld the same framed views as did people centuries ago, and as will people hundreds of years from now.

I’ve taken photographs out the windows of planes, trains, automobiles, and boats–and even a football-shaped capsule in one city’s towering, one-of-a-kind “Eye.”

I once shattered one with a stapler.

I looked out through the same large square hospital window, in room 507, holding four newborns swathed in soft cotton. I also saw winter from the large square windows inside four different hospital rooms during their father’s last weeks.

In room 507 the wide white sill held pastel cards and baskets of bright color: coral and yellow roses, wildflowers, plants with blue bows.  The wide white sills inside the other hospital’s rooms held books, yellow legal pads and pencils, and paperwork indented from being clenched in my hands during each emergency admission: advance directives, instructions for anatomical donation.

I believe in Shakespeare’s poetic characterization of eyes as “the windows of the soul, and by extension the soul itself.”  But my favorite metaphorical windows are found in a poem about New York City.

Poet Jessica Greenbaum used a city’s windows as a metaphor for the vastness of immeasurable love.  In  “I Love You More Than All the Windows in New York City,” she wrote:

                                                       The day turned into the city
and the city turned into the mind
and the moving trucks trumbled along . . .
. . .  no matter the day, we tend towards
remaking parts of it—what we said
or did, or how we looked—
and the buildings were like faces
lining the banks of a parade
obstructing and highlighting each other
defining height and width for each other
offsetting grace and function . . . .
. . . the hearty pigeons collaborate
with wrought iron fences
and become recurring choruses of memory
reassembling around benches
we sat in once, while seagulls wheel
like immigrating thoughts, and never-leaving
chickadees hop bared hedges and low trees
like commas and semicolons, landing
where needed, separating
subjects from adjectives, stringing along
the long ideas, showing how the cage
has no door, and the lights changed
so the tide of sound ebbed and returned
like our own breath . . . .
I put both my feet on the ground
took the bag from the basket
so pleased it had not been crushed
by the mightiness of all else
that goes on and gave you the sentence inside.
I shall borrow the sentiment for those I love and the husband I lost: I love you more than all the windows of the world.

About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like evidentiary issues, jury instructions, expert witnesses, and forensic evidence. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2016 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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8 Responses to All The Windows in New York City

  1. Pingback: 1-11-14 Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows | The Quotidian Hudson

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Window | Nola Roots, Texas Heart

  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Channel: Window (4) Eurotunnel | What's (in) the picture?

  4. scillagrace says:

    Beautiful post, Stephanie. Well done!

  5. Wow! That’s a lot of wonderful window shots!

  6. SusanB says:

    Stephanie, your own thoughts on windows was as beautiful as the photographs.

  7. kalyssa162 says:

    Amazing photos of the windows

  8. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Window | Joe's Musings

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