Open Windows


I often wonder if there are two kinds of people – those who want the windows open all the time and those who want them closed all the time. Having lived in Florida for nearly the last 20 years, I completely understand the reasoning behind wanting to keep the windows closed all the time. Sure, the ocean breeze is lovely, and there are a few months during the year when you really, truly do feel as if you’ve somehow landed in paradise because the climate is as near to perfect as anyone could imagine. But there are also palmetto bugs, wolf spiders, and snakes that seem to be slithering Houdinis, able to squeeze through something as small as window screen in a terrifying (for everyone) attempt to see what all the fuss is about indoors, anyway. There is definitely a solid argument for closing windows and relying on air conditioning to keep the house comfortable, doors, and let’s face it armpits, too, from swelling and sticking in the constant humidity.

But there is something so delicious about being able to sleep at night with the windows open, the curtains dancing lightly in the evening breeze, and the sounds of a nearby owl to lull you to sleep and the happy chirps of the birds singing to help you greet the new day, too. The evening air is when we all grab for the soft comfort of our favorite sweater to ‘take away the evening chill,’ and it’s that lovely and refreshing bit of chill that helps make the sweater feel even more cozy and the space under the covers feel even more inviting. It is, of course, super convenient to be able to prance around the premises in little more than shorts and your favorite old concert T-shirt because the house is always a consistent 74 degrees, but in my mind, there is something even more special about a day that involves just enough of a breeze to make you want to put a kettle of hot water on the stove and brew up a few moments of reflection over a hot cup of Irish Breakfast or make a midday memory with some hot, spicy chai tea. That’s simply not something you’ll even consider if your house is consistently 74 degrees; you only think about comforting yourself and the wonderful feeling of your warm hands on your face after you’ve set down that hot cup of tea on a chilly, rainy afternoon.

 When I lived in the Northeast, I loved throwing open the windows in the morning and greeting the morning chill, knowing it would soon be replaced by the warmth of the sun and the busy sounds of everything coming back to life and resuming whatever activities had to be put on hold the day before. I loved the smell of spring in the air, and though many think it mad, it was so easy to discern the smells of spring from the smells of summer or fall, and each had its own perfume that closed windows would lock away.

Clearly, I am of the open window school of thought. I feel as if I can be more in touch with the world around me if the windows are open and the breezes and smells filling the world around me are shared with me, too. I love the feeling of my home after I’ve had the windows open all day, and the smells I’ve become so used to – the pets, the husband, and whatever was for dinner that evening, are carried off to be shared with everything on the other side of the screen, too, as if it’s my small gift to the world.

Today has been a lovely day – the kind you get just before the solstice, when the weather is almost warm enough to call it summer, but an afternoon rain shower can drop the mercury ten degrees in less than that many minutes. I’m on the porch working right now, and when I go back inside, I think I’m going to throw caution to the wind (literally), turn off the air conditioning that my husband says I should leave on because the doors in the hallway are swollen and won’t close easily, and I’m going to enjoy drinking in the scent and chill of the evening air as if it’s a glass of expensive wine.

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