A Window in the Kitchen

geese2When I was a child, my grandmother always talked about how glad she was that there was a window over her kitchen sink. She lived in a big old farmhouse and the window looked over the back yard, with the sugarhouse and the chicken coop.

I never understood what the big deal was. Nothing happened in the sugarhouse, except during early spring when the sap was being boiled down, and who wants to look at chickens?

Now that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, tending caramel while it burbles on the stove or stirring chocolate for long periods, to temper it, I finally understand what my grandmother saw there.

Looking out a window, and letting your mind wander, near and far, helps pass the time spent doing the most prosaic chores. My grandmother didn’t just see chickens scratching and empty farm buildings.

She saw her grandchildren playing and, maybe in her mind’s eye, she remembered her own children out there. She lost a daughter, at age 12, so maybe she remembered Ruth swinging on the gate, and the boys on the ponies.

Maybe she remembered her own youth, on a farm not far away, and in her memories moved from the farm kitchen, doing dishes and baking bread, back to tree climbing and rambling through the orchards.

This is the view I’m fortunate to have outside my kitchen window, to occupy my eyes and mind while I make candy.

geeseSince candy-making season, for me, extends from fall to spring, I can watch the seasons change outside this window. In the fall, I watch the leaves turn on the trees across the bay and see, and hear, the Canada geese and snow geese as they spend a few raucous weeks getting ready to head south. Then I think about the time when I’ll fly south and visit my mom and friends, and escape the North Country winter for a little while. It’ll still be here when I get back!

Before too long, I’ll be watching ice fishermen instead of geese and reminding myself that, if one goes through the ice, I should call 911 and absolutely should not run out on the ice to try and help! I’ll wonder what makes those fishermen tick—what do they think about while they sit out there waiting for a bite? Why are they there? Do they need the money so badly that it’s worth catching fish in the cold?? Or are they out there daydreaming, while I’m in my warm kitchen daydreaming?

And, in a few months, I’ll catch my first glimpse of a robin outside this window. I’ll see those geese on their return flight and think about the cycles of seasons, days past and future, what tomorrow and this season will bring. I’ll look forward to summer, when family and friends gather here at the lake, and I’ll study the landscape for the first signs of growth, re-birth, in my gardens.

It’s not just a window to outdoors, although the outdoors is well worth viewing in its own right. My window is a trigger for my memory and my imagination, just as it was for my grandmother and no doubt her grandmother before her.

When I was a girl, I looked out the window. It just took me a while to see.

 

 

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45 thoughts on “A Window in the Kitchen

  1. What a wonderful view. I agree, we don’t just see the physical things in front of us when we look out the window. There are so many other things hidden behind.
    My Grandmother cannot look out the window when it’s daffodil season, when she was younger with a year old baby, she woke up and looked out the window for 10 minutes at the daffodils before checking on her son. Unfortunately, when she didn’t she discovered he had died of cot death. Seeing daffodils like that brings it all back.

  2. What a beautiful post! Loved your thoughts on the scenes outside the window and your remembering your grandma… I, too, am learning to understand my parents and grandparents as never before – I guess it means I am now living some of the stages they were at when I was a child. Beautiful photos, too 🙂

    • Yes, I think an important part of growing older is that we can relate to older people so much more! I only wish some of those people were still living so I could appreciate them as they deserved!

  3. It’s amazing what age will do to us 🙂 We may be super busy, but we’re still able to slow down long enough to enjoy things like a daydream out the window.
    I get to watch the sunset every night from my studio…love it. And when I wash my glassware at the kitchen sink, I get to see my brother’s memorial tree and remember the good times with him 🙂

  4. I so agree that windows over sinks are important. After 26 years in a house with “sink” windows, I am now in one with no window. My kitchen is tiny, the sink is in a dark corner where the side of the stove is behind me when I am at the sink. One of the first things that I did when I moved in was frame an print of irises by Van Gogh to go over the sink, so at least I have color and light of a sort. It is an acceptable substitute. I am fortunate to have porches on both the front and back of this little tenant house for outdoor viewing, but in the winter the windows are so important to my well-being. Thanks for your story.

    Annie

    • What a good solution–a beautiful painting to substitute for the view1 I had a tiny kitchen like that some years ago and it was frustrating in so many ways. I’m glad you have good porches!

  5. What a delightful story and great photos! Love to read your wandering thoughts. A good kitchen need a sink window and I am o happy with my view ofthe garden. But your sink widowview beats all! Hugs form Ohio

    • My window is very special–we planned for this for a long time. It does get kind of grim in the deep winter but, then, the sun shines on the snow and everything sparkles and I see a cardinal and everything is okay again!

  6. I love this post and it is so true! I currently live in a place were I can’t see out my window but my husband and I will be looking to buy a house in the next year or so and it will definitely need to have a kitchen window with a nice view 🙂

  7. I am so glad that I also have a kitchen window. I can see the bird feeders and watch the birds. I enjoyed reading your story 🙂 Annie

  8. My first visit to your blog and what do I find? A lovely post about something as simple, yet as wonderful as the Window over the kitchen sink. For memories, distractions, beauty, reverie, reassurance … and just plain natural light … how very nice.

  9. What a wonderful view from your kitchen window. With a view like that, no wonder you are so creative with your chocolates; all the loveliness travels from eye and brain and just gets stirred in.

  10. Beautiful view. I have a window over my sink and even though I look onto rooftops (I’m on the third floor) I see lovely tropical trees and plants into the distance. Many types of exotic birds land on the rooftops and aerials as they pass by (including parrots, mynah birds, bee-eaters and kingfishers). 🙂

  11. And what a marvelous view you have! My kitchen sink is on an inside wall…the window is directly behind it on the outside wall. I positioned a large faux window with a mirror over the sink so I could see the reflection out the window behind me.

    • I can’t see any people at all, except the occasional ice fisherman or boater! When I lived in a city I used to peer across at the neighbors–not really snooping but just using what I saw to start my imagination.

  12. I love your view and your telling of it! I enjoy my kitchen window view too. I can see the lovely neighborhood, the far off western mountain range and a tall, white church steeple, just down the hill a short ways. I can also remember seeing my children play out the window. Beautiful views. And thanks for a wonderful post. Blessings!

  13. This is such a wonderful post and it’s so beautifully written! Your view is lovely, you’re so lucky. I think windows are one of the most important things in a house – you need them so that your house feels less like a box, and I love that your window triggers such lovely memories and thoughts for you xx

  14. Pingback: That Magic Moment, When I Looked into the Skies . . . | Love Those "Hands at Home"

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