Welcome. Through the window where I work these days, I see the backs of several apartment buildings, terraces and fire escapes, tall old trees taken over by vines and the twin spires of the Gothic Revival-style church on the corner. As views go, it’s performing its job well: form and function in equal measure, beautiful and a little ragged, too, enough sky to see the storms move in and recede, the sun or moon when things clear up.
When I need a shift in perspective, I’m grateful for Window Swap, a quarantine project created by a couple in Singapore who’d grown weary of their own view. They requisitioned still videos from their friends, then the public, of the views from their own windows. Now, when you visit Window-Swap.com and click “Open a new window somewhere in the world,” you’re given a random view from somewhere in the world. Today I watched a nighttime thunderstorm from João’s window in Lisbon, traffic from Luke’s place in Cincinnati, a cat sleeping on a sill in Ann Arbor, Mich. It’s mesmerizing, calming, a respite.
For further diversion today, I recommend entering your birth year in Merriam-Webster’s Time Travel tool to see which words were first used in print the year you were born (“guilt-trip” and “string cheese” for me).
I enjoyed this beautiful interactive examination of the work of the Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson audio from the Tate curator Mark Godfrey.
And this NPR interview with my former colleague Maria Sherman about appreciating boy bands is a delightful listen: “It feels like almost a political dismissal of pre-existing limitations of what’s considered credible or cool. It’s like ‘I can be free from pretension for two minutes and 43 seconds, or however long the average pop song is, and really just give in to joy.’”
What’s on your mind? What are you thinking or wondering or wishing? Write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more ideas for shifting your perspective appear below.