window sill,

a boundary of disparate continua as a place to stay, dwell, feel attracted to: oceanfronts and riverbanks (land/water, solid/flowing boundaries), attics, towers, corner rooms and upper floors; its the lure of a forest edge or the foot of a mountain, the power of ecotones, ecoclines, terrain seams to germinate roads and settlements, nurture ethnogenesis — and, of course, the childish bliss of straddling a fence or a window sill. ■    An innate behavioral pattern, it has its opposite: centripetal repulsion from edges and ends, infatuation with limitless interiors — the heartland instinct; both are culturally variable but historical time has seen a major shift towards the window sill. Inner flatlands still attract inside-the-rock ascetics, undoers, those self-focused or overwhelmed — but mostly as temporary stints or intermissions; theres a pathfinders thrill when up in space, far out at sea, underground but also the despair of “being nowhere.”  ■    Fringe fascination became a social mover during sparsening: with demographic shrinking and a new freedom of relocation, continental plains depopulated faster than terrain joints and extremities. Its been fashionable to see a window sill anywhere from twilight call to near-death experiences to deep sleep addiction; once ascribed to economy (trade, resources), sill-straddling may be a much older instinct of hedging safety bets (coast dwellers can flee inland from a sea danger and seaward from a land danger) — or simply an effort-saving laziness: “where a single step takes me into another world.” Many tend to polarize (even destructively, if usually by harmless rething) to create a sill where theres none; spatially disquieted beings, we build borderland basecamps whence to embark on our journeys — always with a home to return to.

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