The half-light of a winter morning swallows the stars, revealing a world frosted with white. The dog, redefining the phrase ‘global warming’, lays across the threshold, letting the heat escape from my comfort zone. Cold seeps in, reality nips at my fingers and mind.
The seasons meet on my threshold; only a transparent veil of glass separates me from the winter. Whatever the weather, comes into the room to be a part of my living space and yet its changes do not touch me until I open the doors and invite Nature in. Winter is cold… the warmth of my home no more than a reassuring illusion, and one easily shattered by a dog hell-bent on answering the siren-song of morning.
The doors stand open, more often than not, in both winter and summer. In part, that is because of Ani, who prefers to be a free-range dog whenever possible. Often, though, it is my own choice. The voices of my little world are very different when the doors stand open. In the ‘human’ world, the only sounds are mechanical… the hum of the aquarium, the clicks and whirrs of appliances and computer, the ticking of the clock and the constant whine of tinnitus. Outside, there is chaos… the cows on the farm across the field, a riot of birdsong and the eerie cries of peacocks. Red kites cry overhead by day, owls and foxes at night. And underpinning it all is the ever-changing song of the wind that howls, sighs and whispers through the branches.
With the door open, Nature comes in, bringing with her all manner of small creatures, from birds and butterflies to spiders and the occasional slug. Within my room there are yet other worlds behind glass that I can observe but not fully enter. The fish watch me from their temperate environment and we communicate only by sight, care and nourishment. There are worlds both illusory and real behind the screens of the computer and TV. Worlds where I cannot control events, but which I touch through choice alone.
Should I be asked to describe my home, though, which part of my world would come first to mind? I am more intimately acquainted with the inside. I know…in theory at least… what the unseen parts of my living space hold, what is within every drawer and cupboard, what things mean and where they came from. Beyond the glass, be that screen, window or aquarium, I have far less knowledge, and far less control over how ‘those’ worlds behave. I must approach them on their terms, not mine. I cannot swim with my fish any more than I can fly with the birds or change the script of a film on the screen.
Yet it is all one… perhaps home can only ever be defined as ‘here’ or ‘now’, because although we live in a home, it is within a town or village, within a country, on a planet, within a galaxy that is within a universe… It is hard to be specific without first defining terms.
The glass walls that separate one part of our world from another define their boundaries and yet we can still see them, know them a little, interact with them. We know there are limits to that interaction, and we can learn how to expand them, just as we can learn what lies beyond the horizon. I cannot swim with my fish, but I can swim with fish. Man has no wings, but he has learned to fly. And where once a screen was a thing to simply look upon, now we work and create with them every day.
The more we explore these expanding horizons, the more familiar with them we become, the easier it becomes to interact with them. It is the same with the inner worlds that also exist beyond the translucent veils of consciousness. We know the face of our own inner world, often better than we know our own faces, which change over time and reflect change back at us. We can glimpse other layers, other ‘worlds’ too, and feel their effects, but not fully enter them unless we learn their ways. When we explore and expand the inner horizons that exist beyond the confines of the mind, there too we can find an infinite universe. Open a window on the soul and the light streams in.