It’s odd how when your mind is engaged elsewhere, creative things can happen.
The dull chore of washing windows has been nagging me for weeks. I thought about it every time I gazed out the window at the emerging hosta in the front garden and thinking either there was a new, blurry variety of plant, or I needed new glasses. But since most of my windows were yielding the same vague result, I had to concede. So when a co-worker asked me last Friday, “What are your plans this weekend?” my answer was, “I am going to wash windows.” (Don’t I know how to have a good time?)
I tried to talk myself out of it. I did my best, even offered Sunday to myself to sit and read my current novel. After the breakfast dishes were cleaned up, I did read for an hour, then suddenly, as if taken over by the window cleaning spirits, I put the book down, fetched a roll of paper towels and the toxin-free window cleaner and got to work.
We have the old style windows, not the easy flip-out kind that makes the job easy and quick. I slid out the screen and the two storm windows, rubbed them until they sparkled, then puzzled them back into place. It took just enough of my attention away from my various Life Issues to stay focused on how to clean both sides of 3-over-3 windows panes, and which storm window slides in first? when an idle thought drifted in about how to solve a knotty problem at work. I had not thought about it in days, indeed, I try to keep work and home lives separate, but this innocent solution slipped in the back door while I was out in front. It was then I realized I was enjoying myself, as pitiful as that can sound when you are only washing windows.
It’s amazing how it happens. It’s accidental. Focus on the ordinary and the extraordinary happens. I don’t know if you can set it up on purpose. It’s like looking at something in the dark; you can only see it with the periphery of your vision. It is odd that humans have evolved to see in the dark that way, as if we are not entirely part of the predator crowd despite the forward position of our eyes. There is something vulnerable in the dark that our intuitive unconscious knows about, and like most prey (pray?) species, our peripheral vision is cued to respond with answers from beyond ourselves.
Just something to think about, next time you’re washing your windows.