An uncertain invitation.

I suppose if I had to name the greatest invention of all time, it would not be the wheel. But the door. It, alone, wouldn’t have led to the Industrial Revolution, but it issued the greatest metaphorical invitation of all time. Or the greatest shutting out. Depends on how you look at it.



Here, in our small French town and round about, there are such invitations at every turning. Barn doors. House doors. Secret entrances into meter-thick stone walls. Great wrought-iron affairs leading to tree lined drives and often shuttered-for-the-winter chateaux. But my favorite, at least today, are the small, waist- or chin-high garden gates that open onto courtyards, fields, alleyways, or just “some other space.” Modest. Rotting. Rusted. Neglected. Worn wood graced by a porcelain knob. Some wedged between cinder block walls, other between pillars grander than they are—they are all beautiful to me. They beckon, don’t they?—”come in, no, stay out, well, look but don’t touch”—but not with confidence. They murmur under their breath, most of all: “Maybe.”




[If you enjoyed this post, you might also like "The door within the door," another one of my door-obsessed observations, this time from Milan.]

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9 Responses to An uncertain invitation.

  1. Debra Kolkka says:

    Doors fascinate me too. I have hundreds of photos of them.

  2. ron says:

    doors provocatively, cruelly, tauntingly beg the question: what’s on the other side? huge paradox that something that divides joins, in some way. and, from the samples you’ve shown, with so much character. fun.

  3. Ann Moore says:

    Without the wheel, an archway, maybe, but no door–because no hinge: What, after all, is a hinge but a wheel with the axle fixed to the wall?

  4. The Daily says:

    Wow. What a perceptive comment, Mom.

  5. Anna Harrison says:

    Beautiful textures! And then that final one, definitely beckoning, entreating, with that lucky number 7 and that amazing, flaming brilliant gorgeous door just beyond… How do you resist? I can imagine as a little girl, staring a long while, maybe passing by several times, then tentatively pushing it open gently, gazing at that second entrance above… then running away at the slightest sign of life.

  6. You’ve described perfectly how it still feels! Yes, that last one, I wish I’d photographed better because the house behind the gate is really interesting. It seems that the main entrance is upstairs. I wonder how it’s organized inside.

  7. Pingback: French country dogs | The Daily Cure

  8. Anna Harrison says:

    I don’t know about your region, but in the Basque Country – and I think a lot of other places in Europe – most homes had the main living quarters “au premier” (second floor to us) because heat rises; the ground floor (rez de chaussée) was used for storage and for animals. So very often, the ground floor has a lower ceiling and is nowadays inhabited, but is not as nice as the first floor up. They had the main entrance on that main floor; it was where visitors entered the house.

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