The View From Another Window

A new perspective is a click away.

By Melissa Kirsch

Welcome. Through the window where I work these days, I see the backs of several apartment buildings, terraces and fire escapes, tall old trees taken over by vines and the twin spires of the Gothic Revival-style church on the corner. As views go, it’s performing its job well: form and function in equal measure, beautiful and a little ragged, too, enough sky to see the storms move in and recede, the sun or moon when things clear up.

When I need a shift in perspective, I’m grateful for Window Swap, a quarantine project created by a couple in Singapore who’d grown weary of their own view. They requisitioned still videos from their friends, then the public, of the views from their own windows. Now, when you visit Window-Swap.com and click “Open a new window somewhere in the world,” you’re given a random view from somewhere in the world. Today I watched a nighttime thunderstorm from João’s window in Lisbon, traffic from Luke’s place in Cincinnati, a cat sleeping on a sill in Ann Arbor, Mich. It’s mesmerizing, calming, a respite.

For further diversion today, I recommend entering your birth year in Merriam-Webster’s Time Travel tool to see which words were first used in print the year you were born (“guilt-trip” and “string cheese” for me).

I enjoyed this beautiful interactive examination of the work of the Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson audio from the Tate curator Mark Godfrey.

And this NPR interview with my former colleague Maria Sherman about appreciating boy bands is a delightful listen: “It feels like almost a political dismissal of pre-existing limitations of what’s considered credible or cool. It’s like ‘I can be free from pretension for two minutes and 43 seconds, or however long the average pop song is, and really just give in to joy.’”

Tell us

What’s on your mind? What are you thinking or wondering or wishing? Write to us: [email protected] We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more ideas for shifting your perspective appear below.

How to deal

If you’re concerned about the winter blues, you’re not alone.

Need some job advice? Career coaches are taking to TikTok.

And see how outdoor dining could transform New York City’s restaurant scene.

What to eat

Try Pati Jinich’s recipe for original nachos, born in 1940 in Piedras Negras, in Coahuila, Mexico.

For the ultimate in comfort food, Melissa Clark recommends a soothing beef stew made with ale and red onions.

And if you’re leaning toward vegetarian fare, consider lentils.

How to pass the time

See how the folk duo of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings held on to optimism.

Kylie Minogue’s cultural must-haves include Melbourne coffee and an Hermès scarf. Check out her list.

The tenor Ian Bostridge’s new recording of Schubert’s “Die Schöne Müllerin” will be released this week. Read his meditation on that song cycle, which he’s been singing for 40 years.

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