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Rab’s window on the world becomes the window of his soul

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I have a window on the world, or at least a very small part of same. Indeed, I’ve several windows and I love them all. Those to the front frame the sea and the mountains. To the back it’s darker with all the trees but I can watch the birds on the feeder there.

Sometimes, they sit and listen when I play the electric guitar in that room. You can see them nodding their wee heids rhythmically and tapping their claws on the branch.

But the window I spend most time at looks out to the side. I don’t deliberately spend time there – far too busy for that sort of thing. But it happens to be where my armchair is, and that’s where I sit and write or read.

There isn’t much to see on the face of it because there’s too much. That is to say, it’s too crowded to pick many things out. It’s all bushes and trees, though there’s someone’s polytunnel by the road and their house a little further up. Beyond that, in the distance, a slope provides a tree-lined horizon.

Somewhere through the middle of all this, quite close, runs the single-track road up the hill, and on this the crofter’s tractor frequently trundles.

But none of these things can lay claim to be the main attraction when my attention goes through the looking glass. That accolade goes to the sky at dusk. I love to watch the light changing and the clouds scurrying off to bed.

The clouds nearly always move, by my admittedly dim-witted reckoning, from south east toward north west but, as I write, they’re moving in the opposite direction. There’s neither rhyme nor reason to it. I don’t think they’ve a clue what they’re doing. They just go with the flow. The flow of the wind.

They’re rarely in a hurry. Ponderously, they change shape. Often, it seems to me they’re enjoying themselves, stretching in the sky and feeling infinitely free.

When they do move fast, they’re skedaddling, and you know then that a storm is in the air. Sometimes they change colour – now grey, now orange, now almost red. Sometimes, they change shade, now dark, now light, now a mixture of the two.

It’s endlessly fascinating, and made poignant by the fading of the day. I’m not religious, but it feels like something spiritual seeps through that experience. Sitting here, silent and sole, the window becomes the eyes of my soul.

As it darkens, at the time of writing, Venus is shining brightly. It’s the only planet I know. Lord knows, I’ve looked them all up a hundred times, and have even bought a couple of books, not to mention apps on my portable telephone.

But, beyond the Plough and Orion’s Belt, I can’t put a name to anything. The names never stick. I don’t even know the difference between a star and planet. They’re all just dots of light. And they’re never in the same place from one month to the next. It’s most inconvenient.

The natural light fades in the sky but artificial light comes on in the windows of the nearby house. It’s cheering. And it’s my last point of reference as everything else framed in the pane of glass is now black. And then it’ … curtains.

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