In this month of Janus, god of doors, I’ve started thinking about favorite doors, over the years—
The door in my funky old office in the old Press building, that opened onto the courtyard—a little courtyard tucked between the Stanford Daily and the University Press, with well-established tree and sun-dapple; my much loved office with its fossil-bed floor (paper clip prints, matchsticks, lead slugs) and publishing posters, my job finally to work with books, as I and my father before me had so long wanted.
The door that stood often as not open atop the wobbly wooden stairs on Forest Avenue, the door that T.S. Eliot the pearl-gray Himalayan cat one evening sauntered through, and often during those best years let out the aromas of linguini con vongole or penne con pastrami, the halting melodies from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana picked out on my well-travelled piano. A plain door, with a padlock, but a door that kept no possibilities out.
A purple door in Durham, up in the Cathedral close, when I was staying in the castle there and doing archaeology (cow bones and one little Roman deep-bowled spoon) in Northumbrian mud.
The door into The Shed in Santa Fe, opening from the cobbled patio into the crowded waiting room with piñon fire, where the names of hungry hordes were entered into the big ledger and sooner or later called, while we waited in keen anticipation of red chili blue corn enchiladas swimming with sauce and melted cheddar. Other doorways beyond revealed the low ceilings and intense colors of paintings and painted walls, lunching with friends and family, always seeing others we knew.
The shop of doors on Alameda, downtown too in Santa Fe. Great Tunisian or Moroccan doors, or more likely Mexican doors, carved into eloquence. Doors into foreign places. Places of longing and imagination.
Doors like this mission door, with deep tranquility inside.
image: Christie B. Cochrell, Mission Door