A Few of My Favorite Views
Last night, the strongest memory came to me, of a house I lived in when I was thirteen, a farmhouse that lasted long enough to finally be located within a small Indiana town.
I was the only one in the family to live in the oldest part of the house, dating from the Civil War. And I dearly loved that room, one of my favorite rooms in my whole life -- because of its sharp eaves, and because of the dormer window that looked out on a tree-shaded street. The room itself was always a bit dark, so the window and its view became a painting at its far end, illuminated by the street even at night.
Other views I've known and loved:
My dorm window at Michigan. East Quad. My experience of the brick, quasi-Gothic architecture favored by American colleges struggling toward Ivy status. Square panes side by side by side, mullions I think they're called. And this window was deep enough to serve as a seat, so I could rest there and read, looking down onto a snow-covered street.
From there, a long wait until my next favorite window. A big bedroom window of an apartment on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle -- with a majestic view of Elliott Bay, the granary terminal, the ferry sliding by on the hour. I truly believed I had arrived -- my first apartment, my first real job, my first real view.
Ah, things change and so does the view. It's telling that I did not have one favorite window during half my twenties, all of my thirties, into my forties. That's a long time.
My next favorite wouldn't be until I divorced in my forties -- and found an apartment in Seattle's Madison Park, on Lake Washington. Again, mullioned windows and this time quasi-Georgian architecture. This time, a huge lake with its floating bridge outside my window. I was close enough to the shore that storms would blow lakespray up onto my windows. Those storms provided my favorite views -- choppy water and high winds perfectly suited my mood.
Unexpectedly, another view: this one from an upstairs bedroom window in which I could lie in bed and look up into trees. A brief interlude, a sweet time in which I watched trees in deep green turn red to gold, go bare and become pale green again. That time is forever in my mind.
Today, my favorite view is not a window. Through a dark hallway, I see a beautifully backlit stained glass window designed for me ... a fleur-de-lis motif. Open that door and all is green ivy against a brickred shed. Sometimes a blooming bleeding-heart. Sometimes rain dripping off skyblue hydrangea.
If other views have been snowy or stormy, this one is peaceful. I'm grateful ... but have no doubt the view will change again. (That stained glass comes with me.)
Today's fragrance: Serge Lutens' Douce Amere, "Softly bitter" with the predominant anise scent in the top absinthe note; other notes are sharply sweet cinnamon, buttery sweet tiare and bittersweet tagette (French marigold). A poignant fragrance; scent for the shadow of a remembered love.