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Looking out the "Nothing" Window
Every morning, my grandma gets up while it's still dark and makes coffee. She fixes a small breakfast of yogurt, cereal, or toast and brings it along with her "cuppa" to the dining room table. The kitchen and dining room, as well as the living room, are an open floor plan, with big picture windows along two-and-a-half walls, overlooking their double lot. Grandma sits and sips, watching the sun rise through the side window. Gradually, the whole yard and house are filled with color in the miracle of the new day. When I spent the night with Grandma, I loved getting up early and watching the sun rise with her, then listening to the world wake up.
This is the "nothing" window. I don't remember which one of us grandkids first named it that, but the name stuck. Asked what we were watching out there, the usual response was "nothing" because we were probably daydreaming as much as taking in everything. On the other hand, there was so much out there that sometimes we couldn't rightly say what we were focused on, because we were watching everything!
So it got to be the running joke in our family. When friends came over, they were confused by the terminology until they'd sat at the window. Then they realized what was going on, because they, too, got caught up in the day-to-day drama. I have postcards that Grandma sent during my college years, detailing the new bird's nest or the day the hawk flew in and grabbed a squirrel. When calling her, one of the first questions was always, "What's happening through the Nothing Window today?"
Sometimes there truly was nothing of importance going on out the window. But, more often than not, there were things to report. Sunny days. A new baby bird or squirrel. Grandpa down in the garden chasing rabbits with his shovel. The kids next door jumping on their huge trampoline. The flowers coming out on the Japanese cherry tree. Apples ripening.
The joys of daily life. It all gets observed through the Nothing Window.
We have a Nothing Window at our house, too. My husband and I check it a few times daily, but most of the time we're alerted to changes by our cats. Carbon and Rori love to sit on the edge of the sink and look out the back door and kitchen window, telling us by their chirrups and meows, and the occasional flick of the tail, if we have visitors or odd things going on that deserve our attention.
Sometimes it's nothing but the wind. Then again, the wind is interesting to watch rippling through the grass. Sometimes it's the resident squirrel who eats the cat food on the porch. A raccoon puts in an appearance every now and then, as do the feral cats. Last year, a momma opossum brought her baby, and now the baby comes on his own.
One day, a huge yoga ball from next door blew into our yard. That had all of our cats jostling for the best position to see it! When storms come, Carbon gets up in the window and yowls back at the wind and rain.
And, sometimes, when my husband asks what I see out the window, I smile and say, "Nothing."