Many of my friends in the Open Group for Bedlam Farm, an online creative fellowship of writers and artists of all disciplines, have been posting photos and stories about their windowsill “galleries.” This trend was started by NYT best-selling author, founder and chief creative cattle prodder of the Open Group, Jon Katz (and I mean that cattle prodder comment in the KINDEST way). Jon and Maria, his lovely former girlfriend, wife, and partner in all things, curate lovely little art galleries on the windowsills in their farmhouse. As a tribute to Jon, who is offline for a bit handling some health issues in true Katz form, people are sharing their versions of the window gallery. My gallery is, by necessity and design, a tad different. It is not delicate, well-kept, or always pretty. It is entertaining. Always entertaining. This one is for Jon and Maria…enjoy!
My window gallery is not particularly artistic at first glance. Well, not artistic unless you can visualize images in the layers of smears as if you were studying the sky on a perfectly cloudy day. My window gallery does not feature fragile figurines, delicate bud vases, or lacy sheer dressing. Any such carefully planned display of treasures would be torn and swept to the floor repeatedly; likely shattered in an enthusiastic attempt to be the first in line to see a leaf blowing by.
My window gallery could actually be better defined as performance art. It’s a living, breathing, always changing display of beauty, drama, frustration, and joy. It’s the place where life on the inside, which we refer to as “barely domestic,” is separated from nature’s canvas on the outside by a relatively thin and fragile barrier. It’s a barrier where noses, yes at times mine too, press firmly as if the force exerted against it will somehow allow a better whiff of the activity transpiring beyond.
My window gallery is a place to daydream. It’s a place to sit as the winds whip up a glorious thunderstorm. It’s the first thing I look to every morning, generally over the top of a dog’s head, and the last thing I see through heavy lids at night, again through the frame created by my cattle dog’s alert, perfectly pointed ears. I swear she never sleeps. She just stays right by me on the bed, keeping vigil in case something should stray into our gallery that I might need to see.
My window gallery is a showcase for the birds that come to feast on the bounty that I provide each day without fail. It’s the place where the dogs sound the alarm to let me know that James Squirrel Jones and the other squirrels and bunnies have gathered knowing that I will emerge from our fortress bearing nuts, fruit, and carrots. It’s the place where nimble garden spiders weave artistic webs born of necessity, but delicately decorated by morning dew or frost creating a display that no human hand could mimic.
My window gallery is not something I create, or even control, but it is a source of constant wonder, amazing sights, frequent hilarity (when, for example, one of our delinquent donkeys presses his nose to the outside of the window as an early morning salutation), and occasional over-stimulation (say when a raccoon is out there thumbing his nose at my herd of wolf-wannabes).
No, I can’t have a window sill filled with small treasures that glow in soft light and cast soulful shadows in the golden rays of evening. But what I do have is quite beautiful, always changing, always captivating. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have it any other way.