Every time you find yourself physically boxed in, take at least a moment to consider the perspective of the window seat. Whether I’ve been sitting in a small cafe in Aix-en-Provence, France, or gliding on final approach into Newark airport, I’ve come to discover a lot about the world by simply looking out of windows. Windows provide an opening to the world that surrounds us, and we certainly pay the price along the way.
Consider for a moment: the most expensive amenity in any New York City apartment is the ability to clearly see Central Park, or that having a window in your cabin on a cruise-ship may double the cost of your stay. People are stimulated by visual senses, and there are often fewer window opportunities than people. It’s for the same reasons why the “corner office” is so coveted. Therefore, it’s natural for something as simple as a window to demand high economic power.
Beyond economic opportunity, windows provide stimulation to entertain even the most restless minds; man made creations such as the television and the web browser provide easy examples. The naming of the “Windows” operating system by Microsoft testified to the power of a window, and it’s name proved it’s worth by becoming the most popular software in the world. Regardless of natural and man-made creations seen through windows, there are incredible things to be seen all around you, as long as you put in effort to look. Here are some of my favorite examples:
From an airplane:
- Lake Michigan
- Staring off into space (literally) miles above the dark deserts of Nevada
- Identifying your home amidst endless suburbia
- Summer fireworks
- The fiery red low-angle sun of December, reflected across fields of white snow
- Farms (the physical manifestation of The Homestead Act)
- Farms of windmills
- The Rockies
From a car:
- Seeing your house through the rear view window when leaving home
- Straight roads on a rural highway
- The waffle house sign
- Rare license plates
- Long empty roads
- Hairpin turns of the Amalfi coast, or the French Riviera
- The mega windshield-wipers of a London city bus
From a house, apartment, or building:
- The mailman
- An epic cityscape, such as New York, Miami, or San Francisco
- The ocean
- A lightning storm
- The traffic flow of Astor Place in New York City, from the window seat in St. Mark’s pizza at St. Marks/3rd ave.
On most occasions these examples provide a gut feeling that wouldn’t be possible without simple awareness and observation. So, next time you have the chance, take the window seat, you might be surprised with what you see.