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curtains open or drawn?

In a northern town, it's snowing again. The sun has set and the wind is up, raising dancers from the loose snow. It's very cold outside.

The children are at their father's parents' house. "Don't forget the curtain over the window on the kitchen door," Grampa Joe says.

At Grammy and Grampa's, on stormy winter nights, you make sure all the curtains are drawn and the shades are pulled down, eyelids closing against what's out there.

At Mémé and Pépé's house, it's the opposite. "Look at this snow. Better leave the shades up," Mémé would say. A beacon, a sign of safe haven.

When the wind howls and the snow flies, do you pull the shutters closed or leave them open, light streaming out? The town is divided on this point.

There are tales of travelers, disoriented in the white-out winds, saved by a friendly light. Some of those who gratefully drink down soup and collapse exhausted into an offered bed, will, for the gift of hospitality, leave gold coins and other rare treasures on the pillow for their hosts to find, come sunrise, when they themselves have vanished.

But there are other tales, of wild and merciless things, drawn by a naive light, who come to the door . . . don't let them in. Whatever you do! Did you let them in? Suddenly the blizzard is within the house--the wind and snow devils, whirling, and theiron cold. In the morning such a house will be found, the doors open, the snow drifting in and through it, rime on every wall, the inhabitants perished.

The children are at their father's parents house. They draw the curtains, including the curtain over the window on the kitchen door, and listen behind the house's closed eyes to the invisible wind and wild snow.


Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
yamamanama
Feb. 22nd, 2015 12:33 am (UTC)
I think the Storm King* is taking his revenge on us.
*he's actually a prince.
asakiyume
Feb. 22nd, 2015 12:37 am (UTC)
Did you see this on Twitter? It made me laugh:

DC Twitter: "Boy, it sure is snowing."
Insufferable Boston Twitter: "YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN WE ATE MY COUSIN LIKE THE DAWNAH PAHTY."
(no subject) - yamamanama - Feb. 22nd, 2015 01:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Feb. 22nd, 2015 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yamamanama - Feb. 22nd, 2015 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
pameladean
Feb. 22nd, 2015 12:44 am (UTC)
We don't decide by snow but rather by cold. If it's very very cold, we lower blinds and draw curtains to reduce the tendrils of icy air a little bit more. (This is a very leaky house, much overdue for serious window maintenance.) Snow was rare though certainly not unheard-of when I was growing up, until we moved to Omaha. There we did draw curtains during a storm, but it was to keep the wind out. And there was no curtain on the front door, which lived to itself in a tiny airlock shut off from the rest of the house by another door. Both our Minneapolis houses have also had this airlock arrangement, which conveniently also serves as a catlock.

P.
asakiyume
Feb. 22nd, 2015 01:09 am (UTC)
Oh yes, it absolutely makes sense against the cold! Do you have draft dragons for your doors? My mother-in-law made us one with colors like a bee, one year when she was visiting.
danceswithwaves
Feb. 22nd, 2015 01:23 am (UTC)
Maybe it depends on what house you're in. The house that's afraid of the snow will receive a scary visitor if the curtains are left open, and the house that loves the snow will receive a kind visitor.
asakiyume
Feb. 22nd, 2015 03:25 am (UTC)
I like that idea!
(no subject) - sovay - Feb. 22nd, 2015 07:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mnfaure - Feb. 23rd, 2015 08:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
sovay
Feb. 22nd, 2015 07:01 am (UTC)
When the wind howls and the snow flies, do you pull the shutters closed or leave them open, light streaming out? The town is divided on this point.

Prrrrrt.
asakiyume
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
The intersection of hospitality and fear.
rustica
Feb. 22nd, 2015 08:22 am (UTC)
I had a children's book many years ago which had an image - either a picture or such a strong description it left me with a strong mental image - of a man returning after a long journey and guided back to his house by a candle burning in a window.

I confess, I normally close my blinds - against the cold and against unfriendly human eyes. But sometimes, if it's a good storm (thunder or snow) I turn the lights out and open the curtains and sit and watch the show.
asakiyume
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
That's a lovely image. A light in the darkness is very powerful.

I close blinds too--I've created a problem for myself with this story, because I like the idea of hospitality, but I also very much like to close blinds and curtains, for all sorts of reasons, not least privacy. I like frigg's answer below--a light to guide travelers, but the curtains closed.
amaebi
Feb. 22nd, 2015 12:13 pm (UTC)
And perhaps the nature of the chance-found guests depends-- scariest of all-- on what you imagine them and how you greet, reject, or defy them....
asakiyume
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:31 pm (UTC)
I think this definitely plays a role. Absolutely.
(no subject) - amaebi - Feb. 22nd, 2015 07:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Feb. 24th, 2015 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amaebi - Feb. 25th, 2015 12:12 am (UTC) - Expand
frigg
Feb. 22nd, 2015 01:34 pm (UTC)
We have the curtains mostly drawn in winter, but the lights are on outside, so weary travellers can still find us. ;)
asakiyume
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:53 pm (UTC)
That's perfect. That's what I'd like to do. Will do, from now on.
sartorias
Feb. 22nd, 2015 02:58 pm (UTC)
I remember seeing winter doors back there. Brightly painted, as I recall?

I can't imagine ever shutting my windows, though curtains, yes, to ward the broiling sun. Wouldn't it get really stuffy inside?
asakiyume
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC)
Yes! Now I'm thinking about the opposite situation--offering coolth in the heat of the day. In which case the danger then becomes, it it a weary stranger, in need of shade and a cool drink, or is it the spirit of the hot desert wind, who will destroy the home with heat and sand and glare?

(no subject) - mnfaure - Feb. 25th, 2015 06:22 am (UTC) - Expand
oiktirmos
Feb. 22nd, 2015 06:21 pm (UTC)
A neat mixture of Stephen King and Roald Amundsen.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:39 pm (UTC)
What a great thought--thank you!
ericmarin
Feb. 22nd, 2015 06:43 pm (UTC)
Nifty. I particularly like the line "The sun has set and the wind is up, raising dancers from the loose snow."
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks Eric. It's fun to dance with them, provided you're well bundled up.
mnfaure
Feb. 23rd, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC)
I wonder if someday I might live in a place where such a question could be asked. :D
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:41 pm (UTC)
You could tell the hot version of this story (something like this--but I hope you do get to live somewhere where you can tell this version, one day.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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