A Desk with a New View

Taking a cue from the homes, and specifically the desks of other authors, this past fall I placed one of my desks in front of a window.  Now, instead of looking into the walls of the house, I am looking outside, beyond the safe, and at times muddled, world I’ve created for myself.  Through this window, the world around me is starting to come into focus.

IMG_2334Let’s begin by simply looking.  What is outside?  It’s a pretty typical suburban street.  Concrete road with sidewalks.  Single-detached houses across the street and to either side.  Small front yards broken up with driveways.  Trees planted in front yards.  Today the landscaping looks rather sparse with a light dusting of snow – it’s January.  A few leaves are still on the lawns, while several stubbornly cling to the trees.  A gentle wind blows the rose bushes and ice is in the bird bath.

But as I look beyond I see other things.  An American flag flies from a house across the street, a newspaper blows down the roadway, and a few Christmas decorations are waiting to be put away for another year.  Cars are parked on the road and in driveways.  Children are indoors getting ready for school.

I also see a cracked driveway.  On this driveway an ambulance once pulled away to take my father to hospice.  That was the last time he left the home. But I also see a driveway that continues to welcome family and guests.  Sometimes this piece of concrete also serves as a stage for my nieces’ play and chalk art in the summer.

There are many stories on this street – and I know very few.  Usually when I’m looking for stories, I’m eager to get in my car and drive to places with more character.  A city coffee shop, a college campus.  But this lack of “character” doesn’t have to do with the street, but with the fact that I haven’t opened my eyes to what is in front of me.

  • To enjoy the gardens around each house
  • To pray for the children on the street
  • To say hi to the neighbor next door

The simple act of looking out the window is freeing me from the knotted ponderings of looking inward.  I’m seeing opportunities where I had assumed there was nothing worthwhile, both on this street and beyond.

I moved this desk to actively make a change in my life.  To stop waiting for a perfect place to live and write, and to claim this place for now.  Looking out of the window, I know I also need to make this space my community, not merely a way station.  I could continue to wait for that apartment in the city or that cottage down a lane – places where I have dreamt of taking up the great story of my life.  But if I can’t see that story here, it’s likely I’d miss it in those places as well.

This looking takes a bit of courage.  It’s likely the story will be different than what I had planned.  But it will be a lived story, not only a dream.


Categories: Writing | 1 Comment

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One thought on “A Desk with a New View

  1. Great perspectives, Jamie. “But if I can’t see that story here, it’s likely I’d miss it in those places as well.”
    So true!

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