Soundtrack in my head: Brooklyn Funk Essentials, “Take the L Train (To 8th Avenue)”
The change of seasons truly doesn’t occur until the winter window plastic goes up. Putting plastic on the windows of our old house keeps us warm and sealed in for a long winter’s nap.
At the end of every October our co-op house weatherizes the house for the winter. We have a work day once a month in which house members will work on various house projects together, and our October work day is almost entirely dedicated to making sure that plastic covers every window in our house, which includes three stories, a basement, and an attic.
We are strict about this winter window plastic rule—the heat doesn’t go on until every last window is weatherized. This was an unusually cold October, and adhering to our rule meant toughing it out for a few days, as we endured a few nights in the 20s without heat. But it’s nice and warm in the house now. (Ironically, the weather today is sunny and 56 degrees.)
It’s sort of a weird feeling when we put the sheets of plastic up and snap them in on the built-in runners alongside the window. The plastic invariably diminishes the visibility of the outdoors. My room, in particular has a pretty good view of the trees and the backyards to the east of us, and this view has now become blurred. I have to make an effort when I look through my window to make out the features of the view outside. This does not bother me, strange as that may seem. It’s also at this time of year that most of the remaining leaves have fallen, and oddly enough that makes our house a little bit brighter because light is blocked less by the trees. From our third floor back porch we can see the sky. And because it’s still reasonably warm most days, we can still enjoy our outdoor porches for a little while longer, though the snows eventually make that impossible.
Oddly enough, I sort of like this new sealed-in feeling. The view from my window in the morning is replaced with a bright whiteness. It’s quieter indoors with all the windows closed. Winter is a time of quiet reflection and the sealed windows seem to help with that. I envision many evenings spent in the living room journal writing, lit candles in my room and on the mantle of the fireplace (which, unfortunately, was sealed years ago).
Eventually, I will begin to crave the outdoors and fresh air once again. I wish I could say that this craving wouldn’t occur until April, but typically the longing for the outdoors starts in late January or early February. But come April, we’ll finally be able to tear the plastic off the windows like gift wrap on a birthday and embrace the outdoors with its sights, smells and sounds. Until then, I will enjoy the quiet.