I love the way this photo turned out, of the little orchard behind the house in its spring finery, seen through the window screen. I’m reminded just how many screens we see life through, much of the time—our view of things affected, if not actually distorted.
There are those famous rose-colored lenses, the rosy glow of La Vie en Rose, making everything much more romantic than it is.
And then, while listening to the song in some dim smoke-filled room, there is that smoke screen which makes everything seem like something out of a Raymond Chandler novel—a little world-weary, a little noir.
There are cataracts, blurring the vision in old age; and I’m remembering my mother’s wonderful remark when she’d had hers removed—“the world looks like it’s been washed.” Dirt in any of its guises was anathema to her.
I know a little bit the feeling of snow-blindness. In Montreal one long-ago winter, my eyeglasses steamed up from my breath travelling up my woolen scarf—and then froze. A screen of breath, a screen of frost, a very introspective view.
Not quite so drastic is the screen of moisture-beaded glass—whether science experiments, cocktails, or rainy haunts—the sparkle of adventure, to me, coming from a place where rain and lovely moisture weren’t common.
Always dire is “now we see through a glass darkly.” An explanation of this ominous (dark) phrase is given here. “The ‘glass’ the writer describes here is actually a mirror. The mirrors of the ancients were of polished metal, in many cases they were of brass and they required constant polishing, so that a sponge with pounded pumice-stone was generally attached to it. And it was the apostle Paul who wrote this famous passage from the Bible in a letter to a church in Corinth, which was famous for the manufacture of these kinds of mirrors. The images reflected in these brass mirrors were indistinct in comparison to our modern mirrors. They were seen Darkly Which, literally translated from the original Greek language in which he wrote, means, ‘in a riddle or enigma…that the revelation appears indistinctly, imperfectly.’”
Seeing back to lighter times is by contrast facilitated by looking through old wavy window glass, in hundreds of small panes, like that on the sun porch of the wonderful old Victorian house I once rented.
And then there’s the joy of unscreening; of flinging back heavy shutters to the day, maybe in an albergo in Rome one August morning.
image: Christie B. Cochrell, Through the Window Screen