My window is not very big. In fact there are two side by side, each 70 by 120 cm in size, opening up two ways, from the middle I can open them up by pulling inside, or I can slant them from the top. I am on the first floor, or second floor if you are American. My writing table is in front of the window, perfect for viewing the world outside from where I sit.  The roof from the ground floor extends out from my window and is covered in succulent vegetation. It gives the idea of a garden of about 5 meters beyond which I see trees and some open green. Right in front is a weeping birch tree. The top of the tree must have been cut when the tree was young, making the tree look a bit truncated with some top branches going sideways. The top trunk now forms a little platform where birds can perch. Mostly ordinary pigeons.

Pigeons. As a young adult living in Amsterdam, pigeons on Dam square were both characteristic and annoying  My current window provides another perspective. Maybe it says more about the absence of excitement at my current location, but I find the pigeons quite entertaining. When they take off from the platform, they flap hard and loud, ascending at about 30 degree angle, when they reach a certain speed, still in my view, they dive down, same angle to the height they started off from, then the flapping/dive cycle is repeated. It makes me smile, my view of pigeons forever changed. It goes to show, it is good to change your window on the world every now and then. 

It reminds me when I first realized exactly how important this is. I was the same young adult, studying what was then called, Pre-Columbian archaeology, fascinated by the incredible cultures, art and architecture of the Americas, intrigued by a book on Andean astronomy, called “At the Crossroads of the Earth and the Sky, by Gary Urton. It was incredible to read but difficult to understand, especially since it was Southern Hemisphere, different constellations. More importantly, the current night sky in light-polluted northern Europe is not very spectacular, what did I know.* I read about the Milky Way and other constellations, and thought this was metaphoric or myth material, not kidding. Only a little while later, setting up my tent on the rim of the Grand Canyon, in anticipation of descending the next day, darkness falls, there it is: the Milky Way in full glory. [expletives here]

window dreaming

Not to downplay my small window, it is great to appreciate the small stuff, the pigeons, the details, to question possible connections. But WOW, is it good to get the Big Picture, if only every now and then. 

Of course, the Milky Way is a metaphor, it refers to the galaxy that contains our solar system, the name derives from how the spiral band of stars appears to our view from Earth, it is certainly not the only name for this phenomenon.** The real milky way is where I am now, from cows to Kaserei, where I make cheese and yoghurt and gaze out from my little window to the world. 

The milk way, from the milking tank, into the milk tank.


**Milky Way elsewhere:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_names_for_the_Milky_Way


*Germany had its own spectacular culture, and ancient map of the stars, its antiquity still a matter of debate: 
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/13/science/nebra-sky-disk.html?surface=home-discovery-vi-prg&fellback=false&req_id=675307139&algo=identity&imp_id=921497973&action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage