Unless otherwise attributed, all content, text or image, on this site is © TaunaLen 2005-2011.
All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution is prohibited without prior written consent.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 18

21 Days From My Window

This morning outside my window, the pale blue sky is filled with a great fluffy cloud. White and dense, like the stuffing inside a throw-pillow, it has a tinge of dirty gray around the edges. The wind stirs and blows the flags, the neighbor’s wind chimes, and the pampas grass across the street. Lying empty at the curb, the trash cans are a reminder that the Christmas packages are gone, and things are returning to normal. Yet piles of branches still lie at the ends of the driveways, waiting to be hauled away.

In the pale light of this morning, the tree branches reach silently toward the sky. Their bare branches quiver in the wind. Only the great tree in the distance is not bare. His top branches have let go of their leaves, but he clutches a blanket of withered brown across his lap, as though still trying to cover the scars of the icy storm. He looks stronger every day, and I suspect that soon, he will relax his grip on those remaining leaves and let them fall.

The clouds drift purposefully in an easterly direction, and as I watch, the light changes across my framed view. The bright sunlight deepens the shadows and turns the grass a deeper golden shade. The clouds lose their fluffy whiteness and are suddenly grayer, darker, and heavier with what looks like rain. In a moment, another cloud covers the sun, and the colors fade. The horizon looks white and cottony once more. The color slips from the grass, the bricks. The black branches fade to brown. A bit of light and shadow changes everything.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 17

21 Days From My Window

Outside my window this morning the sky is colorless, nearly the pale white shade of a child’s crayon. The sun seems to be sleeping in again, as does the entire neighborhood. Beside the curb, a crowd of trash cans and empty boxes with bits of torn Christmas paper flapping in the wind are a reminder of the holiday that has come and gone. The wind also lifts the corners of the team flag and the American flag but doesn’t have the strength to hold them aloft or make them wave.

A flock of brown-black birds flits back and forth across the sky as I watch from my window. The birds are intent on some avian business, flight exercises or possibly some unfamiliar contest. In the branches of the Bradford pear tree across from me there are no leaves remaining. Only bare branches reach straight up to the colorless sky. In her branches, the Bradford pear is graced by a single red cardinal. He hops from one limb to another, fluttering his wings and bobbing up and down. A bright sight on a gloomy morning, he cocks his head to one side, and flies away, leaving me with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 16


21 Days From My Window


Outside my window this morning the sun shines warm and yellow on everything I see. Long shadows lay across the yards and the houses. Twin black electric pole shadows cut across my neighbor’s grass like railroad tracks and if I pause and listen I can almost imagine the clackety-clack of a shadowy train.

The team flag hanging on the neighbor’s porch casts its shadow across their white garage door. It stretches and snaps, reaching for the corner of the bricks, and then sighs back into its place again and again. The power lines that cross the sky over the two houses facing me are no longer covered with ice. They are barely visible, once again, but their straight lined shadows on the shingles of two roofs are evidence that they are still there.

The shadows of both the American flag and its great tall pole climb up the wall of the house and across the roof. Even the lonely long branch of the Bradford pear tree on the left casts her shadow on the same rooftop.

It’s a typical chilly morning outside my window today. Light and shadows both spill themselves across my view. Nothing strange or unusual to see, and that’s okay, because even normal views hold their own kind of beauty. And it’s good to see that again, through this pane of glass.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 15


21 Days From My Window


Outside my window this cold morning, I see great white trucks with huge bucket arms. Three of them stand rumbling along the curb. In the yard beside them, a dozen or more burly bearded men in brown coveralls and white hardhats gather around a giant with a clipboard. Soon they begin to march past my window, their faces grim and determined.

I sit quietly inside, watching these unlikely but longed for heroes go about their work. I pull my blanket closer around my shoulders, and peer through the cold window pane at the morning outside. Great boots have tracked through the snow just below my windowsill, and muddy brown footprints remain to mark the truth we’ve been hoping for these past, dark days. The icy storm stole our electric power. And inside our homes, we’ve waited, with warm blankets piled high, and flashlights or candles flickering.

But today, through the glass pane, is the evidence of our hope. Great burly heroes are on the job, and very soon, we will have power again. I shiver with the cold morning air, and a happy anticipation as I leave my seat by the window and return to one near the fire.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 14


21 Days From My Window

Through my window this morning I see the snow fly in the winter wind. Small white flakes twist and turn rise and fall on a million separate roller coaster rides just past this cold pane of glass. The snow quickly gathers on the ground, on the cars, on the branches of the trees---and still the wind blows and scatters whiteness all around.

I am reminded, sitting here on the other side of the window, of a winter scene inside a snow globe. Before the pretty white flakes can whirl and fall, the snow globe must be shaken, turned upside-down---a scary prospect indeed, if you are on the inside. This stormy week of cold and loss, ice and freezing rain has been that shaking, upside-down sensation.

But now, before my very eyes, that winter snow globe has been set right again. The base rests on a level surface and the shaking has given way to softly falling snow that will soon blanket everything in sight. I sit for a moment, peering through the glass, and watch the flakes as they chase each other to the ground. It is a beautiful thing to see.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 13


21 Days From My Window

Outside my window this morning, the cold misty rain still lingers. The clouds are a blanket across a cold wintry sky. Ice is melting, and it drips, drips, drips off of the houses, cars and power lines. Two men and three boys are bundled in sweatshirts and bulky coats across the street. Their hair is plastered damply against their heads, and their cheeks are red with cold.

These are the strong but gentle surgeons who will lend their compassion and skill to my tree friends today. They drag broken limbs into piles as one man uses a chain saw to section the severed branches of the once lovely Bradford pear ladies. In the faces of the grown-ups, I see the gravity of the work they perform, while in the faces of the young boys I see a mixture of glee, and determination to perform their important, manly tasks.

The job is soon finished for the tree on the right side of my chilly window pane. She stands, thin and wan. Daylight peeking through her ribs where only a few days ago were leaves of bright red and green. She looks pale and feeble, yet she is really quite strong. She will continue to heal as these December days rush toward their end. I imagine that she closes her eyes to sleep, in spite of the noise of three young boys, and their hard-working fathers wielding a chain saw.

On my left, the guys go to work again, cutting away the twisted and broken limbs of the second Bradford pear lady. I can barely see, from my window, that her trunk is strong and sturdy. Though her remaining branches are thin and fragile, she just might make it through this season. One strong, solitary branch reaches toward the quaint little house which it is her duty to guard, while around the base of her trunk, the branches and logs are gathered.

The bent and scarred giant behind her is brown and ragged against the misty morning sky, and I can just make out the pale yellow patches where his limbs have been broken and torn. His silhouette is vastly changed, as his heaviest branches have fallen from the center of his body. But he seems to watch in hopeful silence as this surgery is performed. The great bare giant beside him is bolstered and strengthened by the stoic reserve of this grand old tree.

The air is filled with both expectation and the bright voices of children, working happily alongside their fathers. Hope refuses to go quietly into the wintry morning. Here beside my window, I am thankful that he continues to stand and fight, in honor of my beautiful new tree friends.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 12


21 Days from My Window

Outside my window this morning, the beautiful Bradford pear ladies show the signs of a horrible winter storm. The one nearest to me stands tired and bent. Her wounds gape open and her branches lie around her on the cold ground. Still she stands resolutely, facing her grief and fighting for her life. She may yet survive.

Her sister, on the other hand, is in pieces. Most of her ravaged body lies on the ground blocking my view of the friendly, festive yard, the porch, and the wreathed door. Ice still clutches her branches in a death grip, and I fear that she will soon expire. Only half of her trunk and one cluster of feeble, bent branches stand against the backdrop of a wintry scene.

The rain is coming down now, pouring out its’ grief as it washes the street, the cars, my windowpane. The great gold tree has had to surrender several strong limbs to the weight of the ice. The struggle was too much for him to bear without injury. He is half the size he was just a few days ago. The great naked tree stands beside him. His top branches bent low, as though reaching to comfort his wounded comrade.

As I sit beside my window, the sight I see saddens me. I know that soon the debris will be cleared away. These trees will begin to heal if they can, and before long, winter will drape a lovely blanket of white snow over each of them. They will rest beneath his careful ministrations, while deep inside will begin that special magic known only to trees.

The first notes of rebirth will resonate deep within their cores, and it will hum throughout the winter season in preparation for a glorious spring. Yes, in the face of this awful, icy storm, there is still great hope. I wrap it around my shoulders for warmth, and turn away from the window with a sigh.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 11

21 Days from My Window

Outside my window this morning, I see a view both beautiful and tragic. A crystalline layer of ice covers everything in sight and icicles up to eight inches in length hang from the eaves of the houses and the cars. My two dear friends, the Bradford pear trees, have suffered serious injuries at the hands of old man winter. Their bodies are ripped and scarred. Great dark limbs lie severed and exposed upon the icy ground. Branches that remain on the trees are bent and bowed---coated with an inch of clear, cold ice.

The great gold giant that arches over the houses across the street is drawn and curled in the icy grip of winter and even the bare giant who flanks him is laying lower on the horizon, his great limbs weighted with ice. The power lines that cross in front of these two huge trees are coated with ice. Hemming them in like a fence, they offer little protection, and I fear they may succumb as well.

Everything looks cold, broken, and bent. The street is dark this morning, and quiet. Ice has slowed us down, threatens us still. As I watch in wonder from my window I contemplate how this wintry weather will affect my morning view, and I cannot bear to imagine.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 10


21 Days From My Window

Outside my window this morning the sky is foggy around the edges. The ground is wet and raindrops drip from the roof of my neighbor’s house. Overhead, five parallel power lines stretch across a corner of the sky. A dozen or more little birds perch haphazardly on them, like quarter notes lining up on a piece of sheet music. A couple of them shake the rain from their feathers, and suddenly they all take flight. They quickly vanish, leaving behind an empty musical staff.

Steam rises in intermittent clouds from the vents on both of the neighbor’s roofs. They drift lazily up into the air and join the misty shroud that lingers in the corners of my window frame. Everything has a darker look about it, soaked in this morning shower. The porch lights still shine from across the street, and the morning sun seems to be sleeping in for a few minutes more.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 9

21 Days From My Window

Outside my window today, I see the house where the second Bradford pear tree stands. It has the same burnt orange brick as its neighbor, the same white shutters and doors. The porch and steps are even covered in the same green outdoor carpet. Most of the house is blocked from my window-side view by the turning leaves of the Bradford pear and the pampas grass that grows at its feet. But I can see an empty porch, a single bush, a garden hose on a rack and an Oklahoma University team flag hanging from the roofline. A white SUV stands stoically in the driveway.

The simple giant candy cane tied to the wrought iron spindle on the front porch was joined by a string of colored Christmas bulbs outlining the roof. But the festive air of holiday welcome is oddly absent. Black iron bars cover the windows and the glass front door. The house looks colder and a bit lonelier sitting there in the gloomy December morning. Maybe it’s just that the sun is not shining, and the tree blocks my view of the windows and the door, but gazing at this little house, I feel a wintry sadness creep over me, and turn away from the window.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 8


21 Days From My Window


Through my window this morning I see the cute little house directly across the street. She has burnt orange, brick walls, white shutters and doors, and a grey pitched roof. One of my Bradford pear tree friends stands in the yard, and casts dancing shadows across the lawn. The blowing leaves play beneath its branches. Several bushes and flower beds flank the house’s green, carpeted porch and steps. They are neat and trim, even in the absence of the color and bounty of spring and summer. A bird bath and a number of small statues seem to beckon visitors to come for a closer look, and a green park bench invites them to linger a while longer on the porch. Red throw pillows grace the bench, and that same red color is echoed in the Christmas wreath ribbon on the front door and in the poinsettias on the porch. As the wind stirs I note that the glass door is not completely shut. It opens slightly and then closes again in the wind, as though offering me entrance and a cup of coffee. A warm cup sounds good. So, I turn from the window to go brew up some tea.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 7


21 Days From My Window

Outside my window, the great, golden tree stands silently in the glare of the morning sun. His leaves already falling, he is barer than yesterday. Soon he will arch his naked branches over the houses he guards and his leaves will only be a memory of Autumn’s glory days. The Bradford pear trees are solemn as well, standing guard at their respective posts. Where yesterday they were orange and brilliant, now the undersides of their leaves are showing through like gray hair on the head of a middle aged man. Pale yellows peek through the oranges, and their dark shadows stretch across a blanket of dry, pale grass.

Even the pampas grass stands by, quiet and pale in the morning light. No leaves are chasing each other down the street. Instead they rest along the curb of the driveway. A smashed paper cup lies in the middle of the road. Its usefulness has passed, and now it has been broken and discarded, like so many leaves and twigs scattered across my neighbor’s lawn. A black and white cat tiptoes slowly across the street. She stops to sniff at random leaves, the cup, and the pale grass, before she moves on in search of something more interesting.

Even the dogs in my back yard give only a half-hearted yelp and growl as the cat passes by. They sound as though they want to lie in the last bit of morning sunshine and wait for more exciting things to happen. As I turn from my window to go, not even the flag lifts itself to wave goodbye. Though nothing is listening, I whisper, “See you tomorrow.”

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 6


21 Days From My Window

Outside my window this morning the autumn wind marches right down the street in a grand farewell parade. The patch of pampas grass waves its arms in delight, and the red, white and blue flag flaps and flutters in merriment. Spinning like pinwheels in the morning air, the leaves on the twin Bradford pear trees have changed again, from green and dark red to a warm orange shade that matches the brick of the two houses standing proudly in the background. The great tree that looms over these houses has turned from yellow-green, to a warm honey---one last burst of autumn color for this festive celebration.

The trees toss handfuls of orange leaves into the air like confetti. They are caught by the wind as he continues his procession past my window, and they chase each other along the curbside like happy children. Scudding across the blue sky, white clouds look like great billowy cotton-candy floats. A dozen or more sparrows dart back and forth in front of my window, like a troupe of aerial acrobats. They flit and twist, narrowly missing the corner of my neighbor’s roof. Lighting on the high wire, they enjoy a brief rest before they jump and tumble again through the air overhead.

The morning sun smiles brightly down upon the street, lending her warmth and cheer to the carnival spirit that passes by my window. All too quickly, the parade has ended, and the neighborhood grows quiet, save for a great group of leaves. They chase each other down the neighbor’s driveway, like a pack of unruly teenagers trying to catch the end of Autumn’s final hurrah.

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Unless otherwise attributed, all content, text or image, on this site is © TaunaLen 2005-2009.
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