Monday, April 16, 2012

Blinds and Leaves and Curtains of the Soul



Spring has come to my yard.  I crave it.  The rattle of barren branches in the large trees behind us begins to soften as tender buds blur the stark lines.  I mourn a little in the fall as the leaves that shroud my private world drop to expose my kitchen window to curious eyes.  Daily the slow creep of green blots out more and more of the sky, hides the neighbor's fences, the red doghouse within.  Thank goodness for this blessing as with the increase of temperature, so the decrease in layers of my clothing.  Come the humid heat of July and in this ancient assemblage of rafters and lathe that boasts of no artificial cooling--I shall near be naked.  Such is summer.

I love the windows here.  Huge.  They usher in the golden light of morning with arms outstretched, coax the rain-scented breeze to enter, frame the stars like brilliant works of art.  Decrepit, they are.  Older than my children and likely me, they haven't sealed tight in a decade and clatter a bit when the wind is particularly determined.  The wavy glass would make most replace them....I rather like the muted kaleidoscope of color they contain. 

I have sheers on all but the front ones.  Heavy drapes seem to drag at me, I've never been able to bear them.  I need the light, to see the world I'm in.  I know that means that in the dark of night with illumination inside, I may be seen.  Ah well, the price I pay for sunshine draped across the walls.  Sometimes I drive past our old apartment, the first floor of a monumental victorian home, complete with glass sunroom (my previous studio) and eight foot tall cherry pillars that encase a fireplace I believed to only exist in magazines.  The crushing thing is now, whatever current tenant abides there, they've chosen to brick in the lovely windows with blinds twisted tight, walling off sun and air.  Sealing away the glory of the magnolia tree just outside the kitchen, the azaleas across the way.  Every single window is like some clouded cataract of a blind eye.  Staring and seeing nothing.  Even the sunroom is cloaked in silent opaque panels. How do you breathe in rooms devoid of sky and earth?

The everlasting quest for privacy.  Yet here you and I are, sharing deeper things than mere windows reveal.

It's funny as we track our celebrities, investigate our politicians, we've come to accept some invasions of privacy.  The recent cellphone hacking has left the bitter tang of blood in our mouths; while in the same moment I cannot help amazement at the mass of tweeted daily minutia, revealing so much about private worlds.  Who had lunch with who, where...and damn, I even know what salad dressing they like.  We seem to publish ourselves quite boldly here in the virtual world.  I wonder how much of this is true disclosure versus distraction.  Or worse, delusion.  As if 200 people knowing what you had for lunch means you're not about to lose your job...the house...the marriage.

I wonder if privacy helps with pain.  Or compounds it.  I am very reserved about discussing things that hurt me.  Most of the time simply because I love the hurter.  Despite all.  Isn't that the case most often?  The ones we love the deepest, they wield the sharpest knives.  Spouses berating each other, children railing at parents, coworker rants, how do they not consider that these previously private matters in our society--privacy which allowed for healing and moving on--once made public....are like acid?  They eat away at the very fabric of life, the sustaining parts.  While it may feel grand to have eighty 'likes' and "attaboys"....when the storm has passed, you're still there.  Your school chum three states away is just buying laundry soap and eggs and has utterly forgotten your situation. 

But your partner hasn't.

And yet.....as the tears silently slip down my cheeks, the darkness the only witness...is this better?  We're supposed to be wiser with age, more together.  I'm not sure I believe that anymore. 

Spring is here.  I'm so glad the honeysuckle is stealing up the tree outside the dining room.  Wrapping tendrils of ivy love about the trunk, spilling delicious blooms into the corner of my world.  Soon I won't be able to see the porch next door.  And they not me.  If I want to sip whiskey and weep till dawn, I can.

Privately.

.

28 comments:

Shelly said...

Lovely, lovely sun-kissed thoughts. I am totally with you about privacy. I really wonder where we are all going to end up with it in 5 years or so...

Lyndsay Wells said...

Chantal, I didn't just love this for your beautiful weaving of words and thoughts on privacy, but also for the way you wrote about your windows. In a world where everyone wants new and improved I will take wavy glass and a creaky hinge any day. You make me long for summer...

Mary said...

I'm a bit different. I love my privacy and have black out drapes on all my windows. Hubby has been gone house sitting for his sister for a week and I haven't opened the drapes once since he's been gone. It's like my own little cave, with tv, stove and computer. lol

Shea Goff said...

stunning.

BamaTrav said...

*Note to self* She is half naked in the summer.

Chantel said...

Shelly--I fear to contemplate what will be public in five years, I may have to plant taller hedges...

Lyndsay--I avoid plastic and new as often as possible! I cannot wait for summer... :)

Mary--my dear, I think I might suffocate without light! lol But a cozy cave has its draw as well, I admit.

Shea--thank you.

BamaTrav--LOL!

terlee said...

The joke about being an adult? It doesn't get easier, things still don't make sense, and the only thing that really sticks is duct tape.

Slyde said...

i hear ya. i have a friend going thru a nasty divorce, and she's got the questionable sense to be posting a blow by blow on facebook... i just dont get it.

Out on the prairie said...

I enjoyed this, i am always partial to shears.

Lo said...

A lovely blog. I, too, love light. I have replaced all small windows with huge amounts of glass...Hardly have a wall left to hang a picture on.

But I guess I am not interested in privacy or have no shame....I have no drapes or curtains on any windows and I swim nekkid in my pool....

My reasoning is, if anyone wants to climb up and look over the fence to see an ancient, fat lady, well let them do so......the fools.

Freckled Philologist said...

Hi dear Chantel,
I noticed you wrote while teaching my last class this evening. Couldn't wait to read your post.
People here put wrought-iron grates on all their lower windows. It's the normal, proper look of a house, and albeit ornate and full of metal working craftsmanship, I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it, not yet. We have so few windows (two lower ones, to be exact) and only four windowed doors onto small balconies on the floors above. I've thought I might just die without the light, the clear unobstructed light as it filters down through the narrow cobbled street.
So I get this affinity for open windows and light, I totally do. I don't think open spaces and light are diametrically opposed to some personal privacy or a certain sense of guardedness. They can be compatible. And, sometimes, I also think we perceive people looking and watching us far more than they really do. You are so fascinating that I could imagine you being the exception. Still, everyone is so much more likely to be in his or her own world of hurts and hopes that he barely notices when the blinds are pulled back or when they don't exist at all.
Muy Feliz Primavera, Querida.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

When we were looking for a house 20-some years ago, "light" was the first thing on my list. And we took down all the drapery rods, opting for sheers or, in some cases, blinds that are open all day and then angled for a bit of privacy at night. But running beneath all of this is your talk of personal pain that sounds fresh and deep. Am I reading this correctly?

Freckled Philologist said...

Thanks Blissed-Out. fresh and deep, is what I thought, too. Love and prayers from the kitchen balcony.

Mel Heth said...

You are one of the most beautiful writers I've ever read. Truly.

It's interesting how the people who hurt us most are often the ones we protect the most. They're the ones we want to hide under the dense spring trees.

momto8 said...

I have been told there is no such thing anymore as privacy....it is so 80's.

Chantel said...

Terlee--do they sell duct tape for the heart?

Slyde--yeah, that's gonna be messy--for everyone. Common sense is often smashed over the head by a broken heart....and returns too late.

Prairie--thank you!

Lo--love the word 'nekkid' and if I had a pool, and a very tall fence, I would too. :)

Mary--you're right, my perception of invasive eyes is most certainly overblown. While my rational mind knows this, my slightly paranoid side keeps arguing! lol I think for some of us, light is as necessary as air...

Bliss--sometimes I wonder who hears my heart beneath the words. Writing is like that for me. Layered. And yes, I have holes in my heart right now....and no idea what to do. You read true, sweet Bliss.

Mel--exactly. How is it we actually justify and defend protecting them...even to ourselves?

Momto8--lol, that made me chuckle. Dear me, I don't think I want to see any more skeletons.

EmptyNester said...

Insightful and beautifully written- as always!

Paige + Shauna said...

amzing how you evoke sadness and isolation and marry each quality
to a sublime joy.

the seasons are so powerful for
the emotions and you have illustrated this so well.

Life Unordinary said...

I love my yard at spring time too....except that crazy pollen allergies will be the death of me this year!

Shrinky said...

I could happily bathe in your wonderful prose forever - goodness Chantel, how beautifully you craft your thoughts together (sighhhhhh).

I drink the scents of our honeysuckle every evening, as I close the garage door for the night - it's a gorgeous way to bid goodnight. I too also cherish these lighter days, and no, my curtains never close either, I am fortunate, our windows are overlooked only by nature, our house invisible to the street.

I email and I blog, it's enough. Facebook, Twitter and the like are all lost on me, I have no wish to enter in there, these places scare me, I am afraid I might lose my way out again, should I ever trip in.

Christine Macdonald said...

Just beautiful. As you are. xo

Tracy Crenshaw said...

I loved your description of your windows. I felt as if I were in the sunlight kissed room. Just beautiful. And I thought it was interesting how you tied in the contradictions about privacy. It always amazes me that celebrities will complain about the paparazzi and then tell everything they are doing on twitter. In this age, privacy is becoming a foreign concept.

The Loerzels said...

Wow! This was an amazingly insightful and beautiful yet a bit haunting post. I don't have any curtains on my windows in Colorado. But I do have a blog where I expose parts of my life. But I guard my privacy tightly in other areas. I like to be the one in control of what I reveal to whom.

The Loerzels said...

BTW...I loved this post so much I reposted on Rock The Kasbah's facebook page.

Chantel said...

EmptyNester--thank you!

Paige + Shauna--I agree the seasons are powerful, each owns a certain magic.

Unordinary--my eldest son has allergies, he's a claritin kid these days!

Shrinky--I wish I could find a honeysuckle candle or something, that scent is magical. And I don't enter the virtual world more than blogger as well, entirely too frightening.

Christine--thank you darling!

Tracy--so true, and unfortunately they're often sharing info that isn't really theirs to share. (things about their neighbors, kids, friends...ick) A foreign concept indeed.


Marie--I suppose the answer to nearly every problem is balance, privacy included. I am so honored to have been reposted--huge thank you!!

Brian Miller said...

the problem with pain is that it often drives us inward, but then that chokes out healing....i def think talking about it allows air in for it to breath and healing to begin....i think it is important to use wisdom in who you reveal things too though...

jacquezyon said...

Just happened across your blog from a link on a poet friend's page. Beautiful writing! A deliciously intimate look into your world.

Chantel said...

Brian--you're right, I have a few trust issues. lol Ok, if you knew me, you'd so laugh at that!

Jacquezyon--thank you for coming and lingering too.