Simple Pleasures: Clean Windows with Poem

Window in Living RoomWe bought our house in part for its good light. It has a small 1905 footprint, only about 30 feet by 20 feet, but it also has lots of casement windows, the old kind with weighted sashes, as well as fixed plate glass, newer combinations, and skylights in the attic. Lots of high windows.

Even the ground floor, windows are far above our heads, most of them, and our house is tall and narrow, with three floors. This means washing the windows is a job for professionals, which means it is quite expensive, which means it happens infrequently.

Northfield Historical Society

Northfield Historical Society

All this combines to render a dramatic transformation on those rare occasions when the windows are freshly washed. This happened last week, and the magic is still fresh. Now, instead of glancing out the window and thinking, “Is it raining? I can’t quite tell”, because of the accumulation of grime, I can see as clearly as through crystal clean water. The foreman of the crew–who thanked me for the board book about cows I’d given him for his new baby on his last visit four years ago–could it have been that long?–complimented us on the wavy glass set in the old frames.

Window with Green Frame

The equinotical light, long and slanted this time of year, is a thing of beauty as it tumbles the images of green leaves, white clouds, and blue sky into our house. At dawn and sunset, pink and gold fires light themselves for a few moments in cool, smokeless splendor before winking out.

Northfield Arts Guild

Northfield Arts Guild

When our windows are clean, it seems to me as though I see everything in my life with more clarity and precision. Architecturally, windows are derived from doors. Etymologically, the word “window” is derived from the Old Norse words for “wind” and “eye”.

Plaza Hotel--Milwaukee

Plaza Hotel–Milwaukee

And so, in praise of windows and window washers, I would like to share these photographs taken over several years, as well as a short new poem.

Clean Window

Wind door. Sun door. Door
for soft breeze and summer rain,
lens for clear vision.







Thank you for reading this! If you think of someone else who might enjoy it, please forward it to them. And, if you are not already a subscriber, I invite you to subscribe to the Wednesday posts I am sending out each week–it’s easy, it’s free, and I won’t share your address with anyone!

Northfield Post Office

Northfield Post Office


6 thoughts on “Simple Pleasures: Clean Windows with Poem

  1. Hi Hope,

    Thank you for the note of encouragement! Those windows are looking out on a rainy weekend just now, for the autumn is settling in, and the leaves will release soon so the light will change yet again. As this quiet, predictable drama plays out outside, I am planning the next several posts–many with poems! I hope you’ll enjoy them. It is fun to have the freedom to try something new each week.


  2. Leslie,

    What a wonderful window into a season in your life! Just love your winonamedia poems, photos and perspectives. I enjoy being transported to special places in your world each week. Keep it up!

    Hope x

  3. Thank you for sharing about the Russian etymology of windows–fascinating! I am so glad you enjoyed this post.

  4. What a lovely post at this time of the year when the light means so much to us! Even the anticipation of the winter darkness makes your “good weather” poem stand out. By the way, the Russian word for “window” is “okno,” and it also comes from the old Slavic word for “eye” – “oko.”

    Your post is such a pleasure to read! Thank you so much!

  5. Among other things, I love how it brings my “northern garden” inside and (sort of paradoxically) gets me outside into the garden. Just spent a lovely half-hour pulling weeds!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *