Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Window Decorations

Window Decoration 2 (1323, EM1)

I can’t play bridge.  I don’t play tennis.  All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn’t seemed time for.  But what there is time for is looking out the window.

Alice Munro

Window Decoration (1321, EM1)

I saw this quote a while back and instantly realized that Alice Munro was talking about me.  I think I’ve spent a good part of my life staring out windows.  What was on the outside always seemed more interesting than what was on the inside.  How could it not be?  My teachers in school, of course, never saw it quite the same way.

To accompany this quote, I’ve been looking for a window to photograph with someone peering out – a man, a woman, or maybe a kid.  A person who looks like they might be daydreaming or wishing that they were somewhere else.  So far, no luck.  So far, the best I’ve gotten (image-wise) is a damn cat sitting in a window.  And I really don’t like cats.  All they ever dream about when they look out the window is catching and killing birds.  Sneaky critters, cats.

So these images – taken in Charleston, SC – will have to suffice.  For now.  It’s probably one of the few places around, by the way, where you can spend days walking up and down the old streets looking at windows and doors that are hundreds of years old.  As many times as we’ve been there, though, I’ve never seen anybody sitting in a window.  Daydreaming or otherwise.  All I’ve seen is some unimaginative decorations.

I wonder if there were people in these windows 200 or 300 years ago?  Were there more “daydreamers” then?  I think maybe so.  No one, after all, had a cellphone.


6 Responses to “Window Decorations”

  1. John

    Hey, I love cats! But to each their own I guess. Alice Munro – I haven’t ready any of her fiction, but I have one of her books on my must-read list.

    Haven’t been around for a while – it’s been a scattered, chaotic two + months! But, I do have a new website ( and Visual Notebook is part of it ( Take a look if you can. Hopefully, I’m back for a while…

    Diane Varner had a series of images of windows with interesting things in them – quite appealing.

    • Paul Maxim

      Great to hear from you again, John. Good luck with the new website – looks like you’re off to a great start! I’ll be back frequently.

      The “cats” remark was a little tongue-in-cheek, although I’ll admit that I’d never own a cat. Or a dog either, for that matter. I love animals but have no desire for pets. For one thing, it would make traveling a lot more difficult.

      I haven’t visited Diane’s site in a while – I’ll have to go look for her “windows” images.

  2. TomDills

    I feel like I must have a photo of that church window of my own, Paul. And we don’t spend nearly enough time just “looking out the window.”

    • Paul Maxim

      I guess I can understand why you’d think the second image was a church window Tom, but it’s not. It’s a window above an old garage (on King Street, if I remember correctly). As I’ve said, you can’t beat the windows (and doors) of Charleston.

  3. Cedric Canard

    I’d say I’m with you on every count, cats, windows, daydreaming. There’s nothing wrong with looking out a window. I face a floor to ceiling window at work, overlooking a river and some hills and I spend plenty of time looking out that window these days 🙂

    • Paul Maxim

      Wow. If I’d had your window where I used to work I doubt I’d have ever gotten any work done. I did, however, spend a fair amount of time walking to a large nearby outer window to watch life go by. And the boss, of course, always seemed to be walking by the same window while I was there and almost certainly must have wondered what the hell I was doing. Didn’t stop me from going there the next time, though.


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