April 9th, 2021
I have had my bedroom window open for a week now. A strange choice for me at the beginning of April, given the indecisive weather and my intense seasonal allergies, but it is what has felt right, and despite the chill that seeps in at night, I cannot bring myself to close it. On the first few days, a bird visited my window. I suspect her of being a house finch, small and brown, occasionally bringing along her mate, red with brown wings, the more distinctive coloring being what allowed me to hazard a guess at their variety in the first place. They hopped around the windowsills of all four windows in our apartment, and my roommate described them as “friend-shaped” after we had stood stock-still and perfectly quiet in order to avoid scaring our newfound friends into flying away, and thus ending the magic of the moment.
The third morning, I was woken up fifteen minutes before my first class, having woken just enough to shut off three different alarms, before falling back asleep, to my small red friend sitting on the beam that props the lower half of my window open. He chirped surprisingly loudly into my room through the screen, confusing me in my half-dreaming state until I finally opened my eyes and sat up to look at him, muttering “yes, hello, I’m awake now.” Seemingly satisfied that he had done his job correctly, he flew off, leaving me wondering how on earth I had ended up with a bird alarm clock and feeling solidly like a disney princess.
I haven’t seen my bird friends for the last four days or so. I originally thought that perhaps they were scouting for nest spots, and maybe they were, and have simply realized that all of my window sills are far too small to provide good shelter for young. In any case, I appreciated their presence while I had it.
My cacti also seem to like having the windows open. Their spikes have grown noticeably larger in the last few days, despite the humid weather. The sill farther from the corner of the couch in our living room is slowly becoming covered in plants, the much-beloved children of myself and my roommate. The original is a plastic succulent, bought at a drugstore while picking up a prescription and named Obi Wan Kanobe, thanks to his apparent immortality. The next is a small Echeveria, which never seems to make much of a change but is a lovely blue-green, and is named R2D2, in keeping with the theme. The next two are my two largest cacti, a tree cactus named Merlin, and a Mexican Fence Post named Arthur, both so named from a mutual love for the show between myself and the friend who gave them to me. After them is a cactus seedling that I grew myself. It is supposedly a barrel cactus although it is not very barrel-shaped at the moment. Its name is seoninjang, the korean word for cactus, as a tribute to my now ex-girlfriend, a korean-american, who gave me the growing kit. Finally, we have two baby sunflowers named Anakin and Leia, again named in keeping with the theme. They are very dramatic little plants, and a few hours late on watering them has them drooping over the sides of the pot as if they would perish at any moment (they always make a full recovery about 20 minutes after watering).
The sill by the couch corner is much less crowded. It contains a book, A Brief History of the Universe, by Stephen Hawking, long sought-after and finally sent to me by my father who found it second-hand online. Next to the book is an open packet of sunflower seeds, should Anakin and Leia not make it, and a quarter made in Arkansas. It’s funny how the space feels so much more lived-in now that I am supposedly moving out in a month. I may stay here another year though, it has yet to be decided. A sudden back-out by a previously committed roommate has left me reeling and fighting university housing to allow me to stay where I am and to let my plants remain on the windowsill they love so much. My roommate plans on staying here as well, and if we both stay, we plan on filing the appropriate paperwork to get a kitten to add to our little family. I hope it will enjoy having the windows open.
As I sit here now, on my bed in my room, my arms are chilled from the cold moist air coming through the window. A thunderstorm is passing, or perhaps just beginning, it’s hard to say. The thunder began maybe an hour ago, and before that it began at about 1 am last night, conveniently being the time that I was processing being broken up with on a street corner at 9 pm after a chemistry lab class. The thunderstorm was soothing if anything, and allowed me to finally fall asleep, listening to the rain hit my window and the sky shake outside, knowing I was safe under the comfortable weight of my duvet. It is much the same tonight. The pollen has been cleared thanks to the rain and I can breathe clearly through my nose. While my head hurts slightly, it is not a pressing issue, as the clean scent of the rain on the pavement allows me to think clearly. Earlier, the sounds of thunder brought me delight, as they once did in childhood and have not for many years. Perhaps I truly am recovering. In any case, the clouds became overburdened with the weight they carried, and promptly it began to hail, yet another thing I have not experienced in many years, although it soon died out into heavy rain. Somehow, the sound of hail and water on my window released a tension in my shoulders I did not know I was holding and now, with the storm having passed for the moment, I can hear a skateboarder in the alley below me, an airplane in the sky above me, and a car on the street beside me.
I have barely spoken to anyone this week, and yet I have felt less lonely than I have in a while. The constant sounds of the city remind me that there is life everywhere, that even my plaster walls cannot keep me separate from the universe - how could I ever have thought such a thing, when they themselves are a part of the universe, and I contain thousands of pieces of the universe inside me? It was foolish of me to forget the only thing I got from the Bible, that we are all made from ashes and to ashes we shall return. Every piece of me was made by the universe and every piece of me will return to the universe when my time to borrow them is up. The pieces that were once me will form thousands and millions of other things, just as they formed thousands and millions of things before they made me.
It is supposed to be the coldest all week tonight, but I think I will keep my window open once again, and allow myself to be swaddled by both my multitude of blankets, and the feeling of being a part of something.