window eavesdropping

True story. On my senior class trip six years ago, I may or may not have spent the first half of the whale watch looking into windows of homes along the shore with binoculars that were meant to be looking at sea creatures.

I’m a window-watcher, that’s all there is to it. Whether by standing on my toes or standing across the street, I love glimpses of lives. Windows are like poems and photos because they narrow your focus and make you look inside. And, man, do I love to look. One of my poetry lecturers once asked me if I painted, because I looked at the world so intently. I wish!

I just finished a book on the poetry of the still life painting, and the author, Mark Doty writes this: “In a still life, there is no end to our looking, which has become allied with the gaze of the painter; we look in and in, to the world of things, in their ambiance of cool or warm light, in and in, as long as we can stand to look, as long as we take pleasure in looking”. Please, can I look at the world that way? Never getting enough, but examining things with fascination and pleasure?

I don’t know why I’m so fascinating with glimpses into other peoples’ lives when mine is so interesting, but I absolutely can’t help myself. Walking on so many cobbled streets in St Andrews is dangerous for the amount of windows.

If you looked in our little window, and saw this, what would you think of us? Lamp, pumpkin, apples, candle. American, you say? Good answer.


This week I’ve been peeking in our oven window, a lot: baked donuts, apple crisp, apple pie, apple this and apple that! Our 40 apples are down to about 25, so I told Walker it’s time to go a-pickin’.


And my mom mailed American cinnamon. I can’t stop unscrewing the lid to take a whiff. Thanksgiving and Christmas and soccer games and dry leaves all together in one massive jar from Costco. Yes, I’m nostalgic, so enjoy the one time that I like something from a superstore.


Nice, America.