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By Forrest Hershberger
View from the Handlebars 

A Look Through the Window(s)

 

One of my favorite pictures was taken at a home construction.

I was in another country, generally doing things the way they did things, when I saw an image that felt as much emotional or spiritual as it was physical.

There before me was a window still lacking the frame and glass. In this area, the window offers protection as much as appearance. Looking into the half-finished building is another window, then a third. It was almost poetic. I can’t say one was any better than the other except that the third indicated the journey is over, or at least changing.

From the first window, standing outside of the home, I could see the dust and rocks of the rough terrain surrounding the house. Focused on the wall and the window I see the craftsmanship, a mix of well-intentioned innocence and street degree in Masters of Masonry. The innocents learned well from their local mentors and by this point in experience could teach others who were themselves newcomers.


When I first saw this scene, I was taken back to when I read C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.” The scene I’m recalling is when the children are returning home. They’ve come to know the lion Aslan, and understood that good and safe do not always share the same definition. The scene I remember, from the book, is where they are walking with Aslan as he is telling them more about the kingdom of Narnia. I believe it was Lucy who looked at a mountain ridge nearby and saw what looked like a reflection of themselves.

Imagine being in a foreign place, having only a cursory understanding of the land you’re in, and see what looks like you and your hiking partner, only better, and across the valley. Imagine asking your hiking buddy, a local authority, what it means and his answer is almost as surreal as the facts that led to the question?


The dialogue I recall has the Narnia character telling the children they are walking in a reflection. The image they see on the other range is the true existence. It causes a little confusion as if suddenly introducing a philosopher asking the question without an objective answer: what is real, what is life? What if the existence we recognize is only a dim reflection of what is to come, as the scene from the C.S. Lewis story?

The window within a window, within at least one more window, was a photo of opportunity. It was a chance to let nature and opportunity tell the story for me. Sometimes we are looking through one window believing what we see is what there is,not recognizing life sometimes offers a window within a window. The more windows there are, the more curious we should be, the more we should ask questions and seek to understand if each window is clarifying your vision, or offering a shadowy version of reality.


The context of the windows referenced is the work involved, and the home it would become. With a little imagination, I could see busy family activities developing in each room; kids being kids, parents trying to direct the energy and probably occasional social events pumping even more energy into the home.

 

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