The morning is a muted affair until the blinds are drawn. If we're fortunate, at least during much of the year, with this action the warm sunlight will spill in to aid in the task of shaking off remnants of sleep still dripping from our minds and bodies. For me, this is a small, but important part of beginning the day. I'm not one for darkness, really, unless the sun is down. Maybe it's more accurate to say that I'm not one for artificial light when the real thing is available. When the sun is out, it must be appreciated, and its light must be let in to every corner possible. This might be related to growing up in the relatively cloudy Midwest, and having recently returned here. During my half a decade living in the South there were days - seasons even - when the sun was smothering, inescapable and brutal. Even still when this was the case - it wasn't so much the light, but the heat that and humidity that made it feel that way.
The last place we lived had massive windows, probably ten feet high by fourteen feet wide. We had two of them and they faced east. Even though these windows were largely shielded by trees, drawing the blinds in the morning was almost mystical on some days. But there were no other windows in the apartment and sunsets went by everyday unseen and unnoticed. The ambient, diffuse light simply dissipated in the living space from about noon onward throughout the rest of the day. This had the strange effect of making days feel simultaneously elongated and truncated - especially during the lockdown periods. The only way to orient yourself as to how the day was proceeding would be to go on a walk and to get out from the shadow of the large warehouse - and so often, we did. The lack of windows on three of the four sides of our living space, as grand as those two windows we had were, was at times disorienting. Alienating even. After living there for awhile I thought sometimes that I would live in a house entirely of windows if I could...the lack of privacy might be made up for by the ability to see trees (if lucky enough to live amongst them), sunlight and moonlight at every angle.
But there is one problem. There's no getting used to the sound of a sudden and otherworldly thud emanating from the window - seemingly out of nowhere. It's happened in nearly every place I've lived - at least on occasion - and whenever I hear it I fear the worst. Lately, I've heard it a bit more than usual - a distressing circumstance. It's the birds. They can't see it. If they're lucky, they will fly away, but often they're not lucky.
On its own, this situation brings up several issues worth considering, especially if one is specifically attuned to the plight of birds. Even still, I can't help but extrapolate something larger here. What I'm thinking about is that this little event is something that crystallizes what so many people have been trying to tell us all as we face changes in global weather patterns due to human induced climate change. The idea is that it is a logical fallacy to consider our society as being separate from nature. A fallacy that we entertain at our own eventual peril. The idea that we can manipulate nature in one place and then return home to somewhere else, where we try to preserve it (often for largely aesthetic reasons), and that this is a sustainable way of living or thinking is severely mistaken. Alternatively there is the notion that what happens in nature far away isn't relevant to us in our own community where we are - which is continuously disproven as we see an enduring global pandemic, but has also been relevant as early as the 1883 explosion of Krakatoa, when early telegraphs were used to explain bizarre oceanic, meteorological and other natural phenomenon occurring all over the world that had originated from the blast. I've mentioned before that I dislike bifurcations - but the people;nature bifurcation might be the most pernicious, and most foolish of them all.
A digression: There are loads of books and white papers written on this problem. If you've heard of the now maybe worn out term Anthropocene, it tries to embody this notion that such a boundary does not exist by positing the theory that we are now in the first geological epoch in which human activity has been the defining factor on the natural patterns occurring in our planet. Other terms attempt to shift blame a bit. Capitalocene tries to say that climate change is strictly borne from capitalism run amok - and indeed there are many plausible arguments that paint capitalism specifically as the culprit, for people have coexisted with nature for millenia without the luxuries (and distance) that technological advances and extraction industries have given us in our comfortable contemporary ways of living. Homogenocene shifts emphasis to the current state of biodiversity - or rather lackthereof - as agricultural industrialization increasingly limits the palette of species across all sectors and crops are selectively bred for a limited subset of "useful" traits.
Still, old habits are hard to break. It turns out that, in a very concrete way as the birds discover, the window does function as a barrier between their space (the outside, nature) and our specific shelter. And I love my windows. And the supposed solution to the problem - one which involves sticking decals close together all over the window surface - effectively eliminates the core purpose of it all - which is to offer an unobstructed, transparent view to what is outside our specific shelter. Well, that, and to help maintain the illusion - that when we are inside, and nature is outside - out there, that we can separately coexist. The illusion is shattered not with the broken window but with the thud.