How odd, I thought, that whoever designed my friend's house should have put windows up near the ceiling. It was the first time I'd seen her house and as we visited I kept glancing up at those windows and wondering. The other room on the other side had a ceiling just like the room I was in and even the ceiling fan there was like the one here. Suddenly I realized, they were not windows at all but mirrors made to look like windows.
"Oh!" I interrupted our conversation, "those are mirrors!" Now, and through the years, I've tried to create that illusion by the use of mirrors in my own home. As I look around my mini-house I see more mirrors than I'd like to admit. They might seem to the newcomer like living pictures or TV screens or computer monitors. Or, they might suggest other rooms as if they were actually windows. I know I'm silly, but little mirrors are my "thing," like little lamps and little clocks. I've even placed little mirrors on my canary's and finch's cages. They seem to enjoy seeing those "birds of a feather," especially at night to cuddle down next to. I tried letting them share a cage after Freddy's mate died, but it didn't work. They wanted their own spaces, but proximity of cages was acceptable.
My mirrors don't fool me. I know there are not other rooms behind them, but they do add an aura of mystery and otherness about the house. When I pass by a mirror the "picture" moves too giving a feeling of animation to my space. I don't feel quite alone. The real window, those floor to ceiling sliding doors leading to the patio and the creek and other condos amidst tall trees and flowering shrubs, gives me a sense of community. Just enough. I'm glad my own place has relative privacy. No walk-ways by that window, neighbors' patios not facing mine. Like my birds, they share the space but not the place, if you know what I mean. An occasional greeting and friendly sidewalk visit is enough. Like the canary and finch in their cages.
Mirrors make illusions at first glance. They suggest other rooms, other spaces, something more than they really are. And I'm wondering, is that what life is all about? Is this relatively short span we enjoy on earth a house of mirrors, suggesting other places, other persons, other thoughts? Are we, like my caged birds, happily content in our own spaces but looking out on a world of mirrors? Is there something more real out there than even the patio door can afford?
If we really do live this human story of ours in houses of mirrors, what might the outer world of outer space reveal? Are we not ready for that yet? Are we happy just to push the boundaries by wondering, by scientific exploration, yes, even by going outside so far as we can? I applaud those brave ones who must explore beyond the comforts of home. I love to read about them, see their pictures, feel so far as possible their thrills. But I am, at least now in my advanced years, content to be a vicarious traveler. I puncture the confines of my little home with books and magazines and newspapers, and my new NOOK, and some TV. And I love to go for drives, occasional further outings, and then come home to my house of mirrors. In getting older I'm getting better at reflecting on things. I'm content to explore inner spaces of the mind and let my little home wrap its arms around me. As long as it has mirrors.