One of the most important qualities architecture can give us is a point of view. Windows frame our everyday world and give us an essential connection with Nature.
On a trip to Austria a few years ago, my husband and I stayed in a lovely 1800’s hotel on the village square in Hallstatt. Each morning we would look out the window across the cobbled square to view the morning rituals of the town locals. Merchants opening their shops with familiar routines that seemed to shape their lives in remarkably comfortable ways. A stray dog sniffing about to see what was new from the day before. Children running to school.
All were entertaining to watch but the most intriguing was the sight of an elderly man. Every morning he sat at the same window, in the same position gazing out to the lake. His countenance was gentle and soft as he sat motionless, totally engaged in his observance. His arm rested on the sill with such grace, they seemed to embrace each other like good friends.
I wanted to see what he saw. I tried to imagine what his point of view was, but could not fully grasp it. When I watched him, I felt a calmness come over me. Each morning I found myself thanking him for these shared moments.
I think of that gentle man often when I catch myself gazing out my window, with a softness that offers me a moment to just observe with appreciation.