When I was quite young, we used to go to my mother’s hometown of Rupert, ID and watch the 4th of July parade as it circled the town square. The town square was fascinating to me and even though it is in a bit of decline (like many of life’s fascinating things) it still is one of my favorite places to wander. My ramblings today really have nothing to do with that magical square as my thoughts today are actually about doors. The particular train of thoughts I’m following today begins in a bookstore on that square. On one of those Independence Day adventures I was allowed to go ‘by myself’, ‘with my own money’ to that bookstore and buy my first real book with no pictures. It was a thick book with a cool cover and I still recall knowing that it was the one I would take home. It was titled ‘Piute’ and even though I don’t remember much about it, it started a then consuming and still lingering fascination with the native people of the old four corners area.
A recent trip through that area and more specific a day spent at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park brought all those youthful memories and fantasies roaring back. Wandering through the various ruins, the broken walls, windows and large kivas were all doorways that opened onto stories remembered and mental pictures drawn many years previous. At one point, I accidently found the place you could crawl through and wander through the interior of one of the ruins. It was here you can find the really cool aligning door shots. I had the place to myself for about an hour and I spent the time taking pictures and remembering tales of magical kivas and vanishing tribes. I also thought a lot about doors.
Doors are powerful things. Open doors bring freedom, acceptance or the opportunity to chase an escaped pet. Closed doors can stir mystery, curiosity, despair and a myriad of other emotions. Doors can mean safety, secrecy, opportunity, risk. They are portals, either open or closed between where we are and where we might go.
Not all doors are physical objects. I often refer to my favorite way of ‘being’ somewhere as stepping through the door to truly enter a place and getting to know it. The very best doors are those that open new worlds and experiences to our mind and imagination. The Chaco Canyon doors were both physical things and visionary keys for my imagination. Other doors I have opened recently:
The Complete Stories of Winnie the Pooh have reopened the 100 acre woods and all of its life lessons. I use my grandkids as an excuse but there is nothing like a conversation with Pooh to calm the mind.
A recent journey through some Robert Duncan paintings let my mind wander through a simpler lifestyle where the nuclear family still reigns supreme.
Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet’ has just allowed me to wander through my own life a little more comfortably.
Scanning a few thousand old family pictures was a HUGE door that let memories flood though causing laughter and tears, sometimes at the same time.
Pictures can be doors. Paintings can be doors. Words can be doors. Conversations can be doors. Corners, bends and horizons can be doors.
As a photographer and want-to-be writer, my ultimate objective is to create something that opens or reopens a door in someone else’s life. I get a lot of ‘Hey, I really like your pictures’ and ‘keep it ups’. I get a lot of ‘likes’ and comments on various websites but I get the most satisfaction when someone pulls me aside or writes me a note that says that something I created really touched them and helped them in a good way.
Keep an eye out for those doors that may take you someplace better and build doors for others every chance you get. Close the bad ones and open the good ones and remember sometimes we have to step through into the dark before we find the light switch.
Oh, and if anyone comes across the magical kiva that is actually a portal to other worlds and dimensions, send me the coordinates.
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