Sunday, September 1, 2013

Windows for purpose

There is something so freeing about an open window. It means welcome, bringing the outside in to spend some quality time. It allows a freshness to flow through any room. It is September  sweet and real and full of clouds. I always wonder why people automatically resort to air conditioning, even though deep down I understand. It gets hot; why not cool down any way possible, even electronically? My mother does it, though she’s older and the Hot air of desert where she lives gets fairly nasty. My sister and her family are big on AC in the summer as well. Again because of the humidity at their place and the lack of air movement in the night. I remember it well.

We've noticed some of our friends and family, for various reasons, prefer to keep their windows closed, relying on air conditioning as soon as the weather warms up. It can be tough to keep windows open without letting in unwanted dirt, grime, street noise, and hot air.   

I love opening the windows and feeling – smelling – the fresh air as it rushes in. Even in this house,in front of a big park there is such a thing. Granted, we live in the midde  of the city and just outside of the green we’re not really part of the smog thing that old city Hisar  has long been known for. Out here in the great open space, the temperatures often remain cool even deep into the summer and so the windows remain open.

One of our favorite ways to bring the outdoors in at this time of year is to throw open the sashes. Opening the windows is a favorite fair-weather practice because it instantly enlivens a space with new sounds, smells, feelings...

When I was growing up in the IAF cantonments, no one had air conditioning, even the most posh of homes. It wasn’t because people couldn’t afford it; it was because it wasn’t usually needed. An open window and a nice breeze was usually sufficient to cool things down even after a hot day. Our family had one large floor fan that my mother would place at the start of the hallway leading to my brother’s bedroom on the right and further down, my sister’s on the left and mine directly across on the right. We would open our windows and my parents would assure us that the fan would help draw the fresh air, the cooler air, in. It rarely worked, especially on those nights when the air refused to move and the warm hung like rain. On those nights, the open windows didn’t really help and we simply roasted. I imagine I wished for AC then but I don’t remember even knowing that AC existed.
   Is yours a windows-open household? What are your open-window tips for keeping interiors clean, unwanted sounds at a minimum, and the air conditioner at bay? (We often open our windows at night to flush out the warm daytime air).


Then I moved first some time into the desert and while the summer days are often brutal, the nights normally cool off nicely. Open windows allow the house to cool naturally, bathing the house in a gentle, earthy fragrance unlike the stale conditioned air that blasts from a machine. Blue Star and I also don’t like air conditioning. It cools the air to be sure but it leaves the house feeling artificial. We’re also lucky because our bedroom is on theground  floor just in front of a lash green park full of big green trees so it never gets horribly hot and when we open the windows in the master bath and the slider in the bedroom, the cross draft is lovely. Perfect for sleeping, for breathing.
People existed for centuries with nothing more than open windows to bring fresh air into their bedrooms and their homes. I know that modern technologies have made our lives easier, but not necessarily better.
To me, open windows are a metaphor for the ultimate freedom; for the air that we breathe. Open windows are also a metaphor for an open mind, an open philosophy, an open sky; a true communion of industry and nature.

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