Monday, October 12, 2009

Divinipotent About Doors and Doorways

"Every doorway, every intersection has a story."
~ Katherine Dunn

When in need of a multipurpose metaphor, one cannot go wrong with a doorway. Writers and poets are wild about the symbolic potency a threshold possesses. Whether a door is open, closed or transitioning from one to the other, it seems that change, enlightenment, delight or  a man with a gun are always just steps away.

Actual, three-dimensional doorways are another matter. Although we pass through them every day, both at home and in our travels, writers and poets generally ignore them. This is a shame, since doors themselves can be fascinating.

As Wikipedia illustrates, all door parts have formal names, from lintels and jambs to stiles and mullions. Doors can be flush or recessed, swinging, sliding or even revolving. The classic hinged door is the type this observer finds most alluring — the older and more peculiar the better. Take the photo above, for example. It's a doorway on the south side of Pittsburgh. A humble abode, for sure, but who would not be cheered by the sight of it? It's a touch of the Caribbean in the Steel City.

“The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.”
~ E. B. White

The photomontage below is a collection of doorways in Charleston, S.C. The sight of them fills Divinipotent Daily with a powerful desire to hop on a plane and go for a stroll there, maybe rattle some doorknobs and peek in a window or ten.

Some doors are weathered and some are carved and polished; some are bronzed and muscularly riveted while others are inset with delicately etched or stained glass. Divinipotent Daily has a soft spot for Dutch doors, in which the top half can be opened independently, as in a horse's stall. Her childhood home had a Dutch door. Although it was not like this fine old specimen on a French farmhouse — ours was much newer and painted white — it still seemed special. Probably special enough to have kindled all this door-love in the first place.

"In Paris they have special wheelchairs that go through every doorway. They don't change the doorways, they change the wheelchairs. To hell with the people! If someone weighs a couple more pounds, that's it!"
~ Itzhak Perlman

One last doorway, an old one located somewhere in Brittany. For all Divinipotent Daily knows, this house is filled to the rafters with cheese and mice. But imagine all the history it has welcomed or obstructed. Who needs metaphors?

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