This was the window I woke to today, Outside, the morning isn’t giving of its best. The day is dull to the point of being sullen. The buildings, which can seem to preen when the sun shines, look a little bedraggled as if they’ve woken after a night on a friend’s floor still dressed in last night’s now slightly bedraggled finery. It’s not surprising then, that as I surfaced from sleep, it was the window and not the city that caught my attention.
It’s a steel window set deep in a redbrick wall of a Victorian warehouse. Its depths and its divisions please me in a way that a modern window, made of a single pane of tempered glass would not. This is a window that is not afraid to stand between you and the world outside. It’s a window that changes the view it frames, making itself the context which gives the view its character.
It is a window built for another purpose, in another time. Rugged and practical, in its day it was the leading-edge in how to get the goods that poured into Liverpool from all over the world, off the ships and into storage without depending on an army of carters. It was a window designed to give light to work by, not to spend time looking out of. The men who saw the morning sun rise through this window would already have been hard at work for hours and the dock would have been filled with noise and motion of people hustling to make a living.
Like me, the window is now retired from the industrial world. The building it stands in is part of one of Liverpool’s biggest tourist attractions, selling heritage and art and culture during the day and food and drink and party venues at night. It sits in an apartment designed for those who find beauty in high, vaulted brick ceilings supported by iron pillars as wide as tree trunks and thick walls that dampen the noise of the city. Now it is a window that is as much about framing the horizon as it is about letting in the light.
So, this morning, when the dock was still and quiet. I focused on the window and thought about how fortunate I am to be here.