It's another rainy day here, and the temperature difference is evident on the moisture collecting on the glass. I can hear it dripping off the roof onto Libby's porch outside her pet door. (She wisely is inside, curled up on my bed, asking why in the world I have the air conditioner on.) I am not complaining--I love rain, especially when I can sit inside and work, and we have sorely needed it here this past week. It is soothing to hear the sound of it, and it makes me forget for a little while all of the looming tasks ahead of me in the next few weeks...which brings me to doors.
I find myself often taking photographs of doors. Partly, it is my interest in the little details of a building--door openers, trim, windows, entry ways. There is just something about a door that beckons me to look through it, at what is on the other side and what is on this side.
Growing up, we did not have a lot of doors in our house, and when there were doors, they were rarely closed. We lived in an old farmhouse for much of my childhood, and there was a short hall that connected the two bedrooms at each end, and opened onto the bathroom on one side and the dining room on the other. Four doors in a small space, plus a closet with a door. It was chaos, and all of those doors opened into the hall way except for the bathroom, so where in the world is the space when doors are all opening into the space? My parents choice for dealing with those kinds of issues usually involved taking a door off the hinges in those areas where it was not necessary to have a door--like the opening into a hall from a dining room...or the opening from the hall into a "pass-through" room like is in their house now. In small spaces, a door can take up a lot of valuable real estate when it comes to being able to position furniture.
Air conditioning was also a factor in not closing those doors. We had "swamp coolers" and they depended upon open air flow. Close a door, and it blocked the air from that room and disrupted the flow of air throughout the house.
All doors fascinate me--whether they are elegant, or peeling paint and falling apart. There was a period years ago when decorating with old doors was in fashion. My grandparents had been dead and their house sitting abandoned for years. I occasionally would make a visit to the place, and pick up an item here and there--rocks from Grandma's garden, an old ceramic cat Grandma used to keep on the hearth, a plant hanger from the front porch--just small things that did not damage the integrity of the house.
One visit, someone had stolen the fireplace mantel--a vintage wooden mantel and surround that had been in the house as long as I can remember from my childhood, and most likely original to the house, which is where my dad grew up. I was incensed--I had longed for that mantel, but out of respect for my dad and his wishes, and not wanting to vandalize Grandma's house, I left it. After that, it seemed each visit, there were more and more pieces of the house missing.
Finally one visit, I decided to take the bathroom door and the door into the kitchen from the little hallway from the back door. That started it--I began to dream about going to the bathroom in Grandma's house, and the door was missing so I could not close it. Then it was frequent dreams about living in Grandma's house, and in the dream, I was always aware that we had fixed up the house to be livable, and I would wonder how in the world we did it. Sometimes in the dream, there would be other rooms--rooms that had never been in Grandma's house.
One day, our friend who usually accompanied me on my visits to Grandma's place asked J, "Have you ever seen your great-grandmother's house?" J responded, "Yeah, most of it is in the garage." When we left Texas, I stored the doors in my friend's garage, removing the beautiful ceramic door knobs and the metal faceplates, along with the metal towel bar that had hung on the bathroom door--a sort of "just in case" I could not retrieve the doors.
The towel bar hangs on the side of my kitchen cabinet, and I used to hang my vintage dish towels on it. Then, we got Roadie. Roadie likes to chew on cloth. I surmise it is his early childhood and being removed from his mother too soon to be dumped into the woods across the road from our house. After he chewed up two of the dish towels, I learned to baby-doggie proof the house. He's still fond of chewing cloth, so the towel bar is still empty.
Most of the time now, all the doors to all the rooms in our house are closed. Here, it is pet control. I don't like my doors closed, but I have come to accept that it is necessary for the time being. I miss the days when Rex and Maggie would come in and lie under the desk while I worked, and Kate, Libby, and later, Roadie would all be curled up on the bed. When they would hear Rand come in, all of them would jump up and run down the hall to greet him.
Those days have long been gone, as has Maggie. Then after Kate and Libby reached their irreconcilable differences, Libby is sequestered in my room with her own personal pet door into her own personal kennel. One too many accidental meetings in the hall way when a door was inadvertently left open, or someone did not know a dog was coming in from outside, and the need for a better system was clear.
We are talking accidental meetings that resulted in physical injury to both pets, and twice to me, necessitating doggie ER and people ER visits. That was when we moved to all doors closed all of the time, and installed pet gates in front of my door and at the end of the hall. Triple protection against accidental meetings resulting from inadvertently open two doors at the same moment.
Occasionally, I longed to have the door open while working in here. Since there is a pet gate that Libby cannot get over, and an extra tall one at the end of the hall that the other dogs cannot climb over, I felt secure in leaving the door open. That is, felt secure, until the day I saw Libby standing at the gate growling, and looked out to see Kate standing on the other side of the hall gate, just looking at Libby. Whatever triggered the imprint of Libby's dislike for Kate, clearly time and absence of contact had not erased it. I closed the door, and once again, accepted the reality of being behind closed doors.