We grace many doorways and walk through many gates. Some of those were locked, some were left ajar so we’d find our way onto the garden paths that take us on life’s journeys. I love doorways, gates and unexpected voyages.
I started photographing doors, gates and pathways some years ago, and I think I probably have enough for a nice colorful picture book. Perhaps some day I’ll collaborate with someone who knows how to do this, and will produce one. But more important to me is the significance of gates and doorways, what they mean to all of us in the larger sense of life.
None of us knows what will befall us when we start out on our journeys. I like the accidents best because it teaches us how flexible we can be in the face of usually our own fears. Just like Robert Frost said in his wonderful poem, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, which was read at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep.” This poem and Robert Frost’s reading was not supposed to be on the program. Kennedy’s featured poet (sorry, name escapes me), came down with a cold and could not speak. At the last minute Robert Frost was asked to do it. And he chose this poem, which was one of Kennedy’s favorites, and history was made. It talks about choices, and which path to take, and whether or not it did or didn’t make a difference.
The process of being a writer is about making choices with the lives of our characters. We decide what to put in, what to reveal, or hint at and reveal later. We decide to show an awkward moment, or that moment when suddenly a sunny window in the heart opens up and true love is first revealed in the warm apricot glow that true love lives in. I think of my characters sometimes as curious children, finding something to explore, and then finding the Secret Garden where all things miraculous happen.
What makes a good book a wonderful one we’ll fall in love with is in the choosing choosing Like a good chef, just the right amount of spice and aroma. Like a painter, just enough color and texture. Like a songbird or a storyteller, just the right amount of passion in the voice or the soothing words of love that helps the body to vibrate to some mythical pattern somewhere between sound, color, space and emotion.
That’s where I live. When they say a tale is woven, it is true. One golden thread at a time. We suspend disbelief. We believe in angels. We believe in true love that never dies. We believe in heroes that ultimately become greater than they ever thought possible. We believe in that perfect place, that Happily Ever After.
It’s always there. It’s just around the bend. Beyond that closed gate that opens with a loud metallic creek. Just beyond where we hear the sound of running water, the music of our souls, the sounds of birds calling to us, and the way our hearts feel when we are on an adventure. Or when we stand very near those we love.