Screen Window

Over there on the Facebook, a man named Randy asked about something I had written about screen doors in one of my books. As far as I know, the only thing I’ve ever written about my screen doors is how they are in constant disrepair, and if I want one fixed or hung decently, I have to hire the job out. But maybe Randy was remembering this, from Truck: A Love Story:

I eat in my favorite spot, the big green chair in the living room beside the bookcase with a view through the screen to Main Street.  I can’t imagine a finer moment than to be here in this old chair with this fresh alive food in my lap, all the greenness and the garlic and the sounds of the day easing through the screen on the back of a breeze.  The bruschetta recipe comes from an email printed and pinned to my recipe board.  It’s from the poet Bruce Taylor, an above-average hedonist who once stood by an open window in a bar on a spring afternoon and said, “Sometimes the best thing to do with a beautiful day like this is to spend some if it sitting in here looking out.”  There is something about listening to a day through a screen that infuses the moment, as if the steel mesh slows the day down, lets us bathe in it a bit more.  A screen seems to filter the harshness from the outside noises and they reach your ear softened.  It will be best if the sound is coming to you over a varnished wooden floor decorated with a strip of sunlight; the flat surface, however artificially imposed, is reassuring in the face of entropy and has the added advantage of being made from trees and blessed by light.  It is exquisite to sit here in this perfect moment, eating food that I – a black-thumb gardener – have coaxed from seed to fork.  I am humbled that in the face of all chaos, I should have this plain, priceless moment.

And then the nap.  Set the bowl on the floor, tip the head back, take the glorious option of not fighting the heaviness in each eyelid.  Maybe you shift your shoulders a little to get just right, and then there you are, sleeping sitting up in the middle of the afternoon of a perfect day.  If you ride the wave perfectly, catch it on the downslope, snag that catnap where you dip into unconsciousness and then rise smoothly back to wakefulness after only a few minutes yet having shut down long enough to defragment the mind, O, then that is a glorious thing not to be replicated with any long snore.  You come awake with freshness and clarity and the strip of sunlight has shifted, and you are living punctum in the present, saudade before it is sad.


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