The View From My Window

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Don’t let us get sick
Don’t let us get old
Don’t let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight

— Warren Zevon

I have been playing a lot of Warren Zevon on Spotify lately while sheltering in our home and researching what I hope will be a book someday. The late singer-songwriter, author of such classics as “Werewolves of London” and “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” died of mesothelioma in 2003 at the too-young age of 56. He was revered by fellow songwriters like Jackson Browne — who helped him secure his first record contract — and novelists, such as Stephen King. The latter recently remarked on NPR’s Fresh Air, “I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,’” he says. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.’”

By all accounts, Zevon was a genius but also a handful — alcoholic, distant father, philanderer. He also suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, which was masked by his drinking and only became apparent when he finally got sober. It is perhaps that affliction that kept Zevon from going to the doctor until it was too late, after complaining for months of shortness of breath. He had only months to live when the mesothelioma was discovered. In typical Zevon fashion, he made the talk-show circuit and talked candidly about his illness. Zevon appeared on David Letterman a few months before his death. He joked, “I might have made a tactical error by not going to a physician for 20 years.”

His final album, released just days before his death, includes the beautiful “Keep Me In Your Heart,” and Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”

“Don’t Let Us Get Sick” is one of Zevon’s lesser-known songs. It seems to fit these challenging times.


A friend suggested I join a global FaceBook group called View From My Window, (#stayhome). It was started on March 22 by Barbara Duriau, who lives in the Netherlands. Its premise is simple. Post a single photograph taken from inside one’s home of the view outside, with your name, location and time the photo was taken. Just one time, forever. In the week or so since I joined and posted a photo, it truly has been uplifting to see the images posted each day.

In a month, the group has swelled to nearly two million members. Many of the images are stunning. Some recall lovely places we have visited, such as a recent image from Asheville, N.C., where my Beautiful Mystery Companion and I spent a few lovely days last autumn. But I love looking at images from around the world: Kangaroos in a backyard in Australia. A flower garden in Kortrijk, Belgium. A woman sheltering alone in a Manhattan brownstone. The Sierra de Grazalema mountains outside the town of Olvera, in southern Spain. Sunset in Florence, Italy.

View From My Window brings comfort and a touch of normalcy, a sense that we’re all in this together. Obviously, many of us — including me — are in a much better position to weather this pandemic than most of the world. But the pandemic touches all of our lives. The comments on VFMW are encouraging and uplifting, thousands of comments and greeting from all over the world as an image is posted. It is a welcomed break from the onslaught of frightening and discouraging news we endure daily, such as a president pondering aloud if injecting disinfectant might clean the lungs. Don’t try this at home, folks.

Here’s the last stanza of “Don’t Let Us Get Sick:”

The moon has a face
And it smiles on the lake
And causes the ripples in Time
I’m lucky to be here
With someone I like
Who maketh my spirit to shine


I am lucky as well. Stay safe, y’all.

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