The man was supposed to be reading the Bible, but he was distracted by the view.

Today's Story


The Window

By William Wood

A man sat at his desk early one morning looking out the window.  He could just make out the shapes of distant hills in the gray light.  The man was supposed to be reading the Bible, but he was distracted by the view.  This happened often, he noticed.  He promised himself to sit down and study the Word, but his mind often drifted.  His attention was easily distracted by anything outside the window; a passing thought or fond memory.  He would stare out the window at the English countryside for ten or fifteen minutes, until his mind returned to reality.  Then he would look down at the Good Book and remind himself to stay focused.

Some days concentrating on the Bible was difficult.  Although he told himself reading it was a pleasure, deep inside he did not look forward to it.  There was not the sense of spiritual insight or wisdom that he sought.  In fact, he had become more confused and doubtful.  Some days he felt confident of its power and validity, and ended the sessions feeling stronger.  But most of the time he was left slightly uneasy with a hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Today, he was drifting off track more than usual.  There was a fly in the room that distracted him.  It landed on his window and tried in vain to escape.  He pondered the poor creature’s efforts to get past the glass.  It must be frustrating, he thought, to have freedom in front of you and yet be trapped by something you cannot understand.  The many eyes it had were not enough to see the glass, or else its tiny brain could not comprehend it.  The fly kept banging against the window in a mad flurry.  When the man tried to brush the fly away, it only intensified the struggle.

The man realized he had been thinking about the fly for several minutes now, and returned to reading.  The minutes passed slowly, and he unknowingly glanced up at the window.  He thought of something.  His mind drifted and lost focus.  Then the sunrise caught his attention.  The first hint of sunlight was glimmering on the horizon.  He watched as a streak of light appeared over hills and the sky turned magnificent colors. It was lovely, he thought.  For a moment he felt nothing but peace and wonder as he gazed at the break of dawn.  It gave him a feeling of hope and meaning with deep emotions that he could not place.  He started to ponder it, but remembered his reading and reluctantly returned to the Bible.

As the day grew brighter, he turned off the light in his room.  There was a moth flying in circles around it.  Sometimes the moth would get too close to the light and burn itself.  It would spiral down onto his desk and flutter over the pages of the Bible.  He watched as the moth gradually regained control, and flew back to the light every time.  The man felt pity.  The moth would continue flying around the light until injuring itself so badly it could not longer fly, he thought.

The man returned to his desk and resumed reading.  He was focused until a bird appeared just outside the window.  He caught the movement from the corner of his eye and looked up in time to see it land and let out a series of chirps.  He watched in curiosity as the bird glanced about from the branch, paying no attention to the man that was keeping perfectly still.  It was a cardinal.  The man admired its elaborate feathers and deep red colors.  He wondered why they were red and what the bird was thinking as it sat there so seriously.  Did it wonder about God?  What kept the bird going about its daily life and what thoughts did it have beyond instinct?  Thinking about this to himself, the bird suddenly vanished and the man returned to his book.

He read for a few minutes, but did not feel like it anymore.  Glancing at his watch, he saw there was still half an hour left to study.  Up to then, most of the morning had been spent looking through the window.  The man realized he was looking out it again.  This time his eyes were fixed upon a green hill in the distance where the sun had risen.  Locals said the hill was full of history.  There used to be a castle there in the Middle Ages it was rumored.  The man never thought much about it, but this morning it intrigued him.  He marveled at its beauty, and wondered why the hill was there in the first place?  How had it been formed?  And when?  These questions stirred something deep inside him, and suddenly he wanted to learn more about the ancient hill.  What about the castle people say existed there?  Was it real?

Shutting the Bible, the man rose from his desk and walked across the room.  He put on his hat and coat, opened the door and left.  A few minutes later, looking out the window, one could see the man making his way up the green hill.


William Wood has spent the last nine years working abroad in Central America and the Pacific.  He was a staff writer for the Texas Travesty and has recently had two short stories published.


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