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Through the Glass: Brightly

Nov 3, 2010
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My longtime friends here will recognize this window.

I’ve snuck it into this blog a few times before. While I love so many things about my house, I rarely get a chance to hang out in this room. It’s where most of the books are. Someday we’ll get around to having someone build custom bookcases to match our home’s original mahogany built-ins in the next room. But for now, our Ikea particleboard shelves manage those hundreds (and hundreds) of volumes just fine. We call the room The Library, although it it’s a mighty highfalutin name for a 10 by 14 foot space that doubles as our guestroom.

When we moved in, we put one of those dark wood frame futons in there. You know, one like everyone had in an apartment at some point in the nineties, the kind that folds up into a couch. It was a leftover from younger days — a placeholder until we found the distinguished leather sofa that would so perfectly suit a room called The Library. But when our first guest arrived and we pulled the futon out to make a bed, we never folded it back because there are few things more wonderful than a well-stocked library, but a well-stocked library with a bed in it is right up there.

Life is a little too hectic (and Little Bit is a little too much of a handful) for much stretching out in The Library With a Bed in It. But we’ve all been under the weather around here, and there has been a lot of stretching out in the last few days. While stretching, I noticed, again, the comfort of little familiar objects … the ones we get so used to seeing we don’t even really see them anymore. I love objects. And so does our local poet friend Linda Dove, whose book (one of the hundreds in this room) In Defense of Objects pays a sort of homage to the meditative loveliness of stuff. It’s the stuff of our lives that accumulates and turns shelves and tables into little alters of us. And since I’m not a religious person, it’s a place like this — with treasured stuff, and piles of books, and those I love nearby — that comes closest to being my version of holy.

The stuff on this table always makes me smile. It’s flanked by a couple of those Ikea bookcases, in front of a window that catches the most incredible morning light. The old moon clock doesn’t sound an alarm, it just glows brighter and brighter — supposedly waking you up in a more natural way than with some kind of electronic chime. Well, it never once woke me up. But it did once shake me up, in a happy way, when I was using the second hand to time two minutes on the pregnancy test that told us our Little Bit was on the way. The phone isn’t old, but it looks it, and makes a great Philip Marlowe-worthy brrrrrring when someone calls. There are a few novels on the table that I like to have handy. One was written by a friend. One written by someone I wish could have been a friend. There is a little book of sonnets. There is also a big layer of dust. And although not evident in this picture, there is a sleeping cat who has decided the bed belongs to her.

Years ago, I found those lace curtains at an estate sale. The woman had been some fabulous old Hollywood bit player in the early 30s. I loved the lace, but never had a window the right size to put them in. Until this house, this window.

So, I like looking at this window. It’s a reminder of how life can surprise you by suddenly bringing you to just the right spot. It’s one of those Hallmark card metaphors about fitting in and feeling at home. And it’s also a just great place to read a good book, or recover from a bad cold. (Or blog in a daily blog when you’ve got nothing else to blog about.)

Read the Full Story at Glimpses of South Pasadena




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