As a child, my favorite window in our home in New Jersey was the double-sized one directly over the kitchen sink. My Nanny and Grandpop lived in the house right next door. It had an identical mirror-image floor plan, so in addition to getting a good view of our side yard and part of the back, I could often see Nanny at her kitchen window doing her dishes as I helped my Mom with ours.
As I grew older, and the dishes and some of the cooking responsibilities became mine, looking out at what was going on in a small bit of the world outside helped a job go more quickly and happily. In temperate seasons, the open window let cooling breezes in to mitigate the heat from the stove and carried the sounds of our neighborhood in to me. The vista was largely static in essentials with minor seasonal additions: snow in winter, rain, a glimpse of summertime kids sneaking across yards on their way to mischief.
Beyond these little variations there was reassuring stability. The essentials of my view could be counted on, unaltered, each time I looked out. I cherished the familiar sameness: my view, my home, the smell of good food cooking, a peek at my stable outside world. My view from the kitchen became a talisman of the unchanging comforts of home.
Now that we live on a boat, my favorite window is still the one in the kitchen. It is now called the galley porthole, but it still provides me a glimpse of the world outside.
But now my window travels! Through it, I have been lucky enough to survey multiple cities and anchorages, boats and people without number and birds of many species. Wind through the porthole has brought the smell of the sea, of rain, of barbecues on beaches and of port city factories. Three times, in two different states, I have peered through my galley porthole at the effects of hurricane winds until darkness fell and only howling remained. On other days it has framed the rainbows that have followed squalls. In some ways, it feels like a magic mirror, or a portal to many different universes. As Tommy and I venture to new places and try out our sailing skills against different conditions the changes I see through my kitchen window have been a minor shock to me.
The galley is the place on C Ghost where I feel most relaxed and most in command of my world. It is familiar and homey and helps ground me. The kitchen window is still my favorite window, but what it shows me is no longer stable. I can’t always count on a familiar view. Shifting scenes surprise me each morning as bleary-eyed, I start the coffee in a new locale. But it’s okay. Just as I felt joy in reassuring sameness before, now I am developing an appreciation for this changing panorama, this little snapshot of my world as it alters. No matter the view, it is still my view. It is my hope that this means I am growing. I would like to think that I can learn to feel confident in a larger world than the one I experienced when land-bound. Perhaps one day I can look at whatever my kitchen window shows me and still feel at home.