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It is two weeks and two days since I walked through my own door, the door to my home, after being away also for two weeks. Four weeks, then, a month since my last trip to Vietnam, where everywhere around me there are doors.

Bellhops dressed in long satin traditional robes and hats who open the glass doors to my hotel lobby the night I arrive from the airport. I come sweeping in, even dog-tired after more than 24 hours in transit, and the moment I enter that grand foyer with a big marble table in the center and on the center of that table an oversized floral arrangement, I feel exhilarated. It’s usually 11:00 pm, and all I can think of is laying my body flat on a bed, but still, I have that Mary-Tyler-Moore-in-the-big-city moment, a feeling of being in the center of the action, in a global hot spot, where people come and go at all hours of the day and night, people from every country to this epicenter of the world.

The doors to my own home are parochial by comparison, set in the past, of a certain era, a place, a quiet time. They are large, two entry-way doors across from one another in the foyer of my home. Made of plain wood, birch perhaps, double Dutch doors, one set facing the front of the house, the other set the back courtyard. These doors also stand out. When I walk through them I notice the way they require an extra nudge to open them. They are heavy and sticky, substantial doors reminding me that this is the place where I, too, am destined to pass long years of my life.

Have I always been this comfortable in two places? I close my eyes and see myself striding, yes, not merely walking but striding in and out of those glass doors in District One, the first and oldest and most vibrant district of Saigon. It’s not that I don’t feel alone there, but rather in my solitude I feel strong and independent, like I know the place, and I almost wrote, like I own the place.

The hotel lobby is like any other hotel lobby, imposing and luxurious, with a certain lighting and an aura of hospitality that makes the traveler feel cushioned. Cushioned from the inconveniences of being away from the familiar, a toaster and a green tea kettle, butter pecan in the freezer. Cushioned from the thousands of miles of space and time from those we love.

There is a Gucci shop where young Vietnamese men and women dressed in black stand talking, store employees so elegant and hip they intimidate. I pass by their doors without staring and out I walk into the humid street where cafes and restaurants sit next to shops selling men’s suits and silk scarves and children’s dresses.

I walk through the door of the French bakery and buy an almond tart on my last night of this trip, and I tuck it into my purse as I consider whether to venture into a Spanish bodega where young expats eat tapas and drink red wine from goblets or get my last fix of Vietnamese food from Lemongrass, one of my favorite local spots. Either way I will sit alone, eat alone, consider solely how this trip has been and how it has revealed a few more mysteries.

And just in the moment when I am at the point where the people around me seem too jolly, where they only seem to appear in pairs and threes and fours, parents with children in contrast to me alone, I get to walk out of the glass doors held open by the man in robes and into a waiting taxi. Through the sliding doors of the airport and the gates and the portals and the passageways I go, flying through the day and night, back in time, back to the place where heavy doors wait, welcoming me to the other familiar.



-Related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC — DOOR

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doorways (three)





Door etymology: Merger of Old English dor (pl. doru, “large door, gate”) and Old English duru (pl. dura, “door, gate, wicket”). The base form is frequently in dual or plural, leading to speculation that houses of the original Indo- Europeans had doors with two swinging halves. Form dore predominated by the 16th Century, but was supplanted by door. First record of dooryard is c.1764; doorstep is from 1810.





doorways (one)






Symbolism of Doors

Doors symbolize hope, opportunity, opening, passage from one state or world to another, entrance to new life, initiation, the sheltering aspect of the Great Mother. The open door is both opportunity and liberation.

Gates shares the symbolism of entrance, entry into a new life, communication between one world and another, between the living and the dead. Gates and portals are usually guarded by symbolic animals such as lions, dragons, bulls, dogs or fabulous beasts. At the gates of the House of Osiris, a goddess keeps each gate, and her name must be known to enter.

A door is an important element of a house, a symbol of passage from one place to another, one state to another, from light to darkness.

Entrances to holy places (temples, cathedrals) are not necessarily invitation to participate in the mysteries contained inside. The act of passing over the threshold means that the faithful must set aside their personalities and materialism, to confront the inner silence and meditation that it symbolizes.

As an access to a refuge or the warmth of a hearth, a door also symbolizes communication, contact with others and with the outside world. An open door attracts because it signifies welcome, invites discovery, but a door can also signify imprisonment, isolation. A closed door signifies rejection, exclusion, secrecy, but also protection against dangers and the unknown.





orange-red door





Doors in Literature

A doorway has a narrow view of the world, but a person can walk through the doorway. The doorway is their opportunity to actually make a difference in the world. People who are more willing to make a difference in the world have an easier time walking through the doorway then others.

Characters in stories that are too scared to walk through a door are also scared about what the world might do to them. They would rather keep that doorway as their shell from the rest of the world.





red door





Words for Doors



“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”

~Emily Dickinson




“A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.

~Ogden Nash




“I look like just like the girl next door…if you happen to live next door to an amusement park.”

~Dolly Parton




“The outward man is the swinging door; the inward man is the hinge.”

~Meister Eckhart




“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

~Johnny Cash





doorways (four)




Your Door Assignment

Write about doors. Doors of perception, cellar doors, sliding doors, The Doors. A portal or entry. A doorway. Indoors and out of doors. A door to your mind, locked doors, open doors. What does a door mean to you?

Off your hinges? You make a better door than a window? Katy, bar the doors! ybonesy is on her way, and Lord knows, we don’t want her shadow to darken the door.

There are so many door idioms. We beat paths to doors, get a foot in the door, see someone to the door, close one door only to have another open, and think fondly of the girl next door.

Pick up your fast-writing pen and your notebook and write without stopping. Cross that threshold, but don’t cross out. For 15 minutes. Now.

(Pssst. If you want to photograph doors, please do so and share your thumbnails in the comments section below.)








white doors doorways (two)

doorways (six) doorways (five)

All photos were taken by ybonesy in January 2010, in or around
Hue, Vietnam, at three sites: the Citadel, the Palace of Emperor
Khai Dinh, or Emperor Minh Mang’s burial palace.






Sources

About Doors


About Vietnam (photos)

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