Doors

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

-Flora Whittemore

Christ Temple in Hong Kong

This is Tao Fong Shan–Mountain of the Christ Wind– the church we attended for six years in Hong Kong. As soon as I walked through the front door every Sunday night I felt a sense of calm and peace. The liturgy, Taize singing and thoughtful meditations always put me in the right frame of mind for a new week of work.
My son and his cousin are in the door of the barn hayloft on my parents’ farmyard. The hayloft on my own grandparents’ farm was a place for all kinds of adventures when I was a child. We built forts in the hay bales, jumped from the rafters into piles of soft hay and played with kittens in the dusty spider-webbed corners. I’m glad my own children got to experience the magic of a hayloft too.

My grandparents Peter and Annie Schmidt, pose in the door of a train, the Los Angeles Special on their honeymoon journey in 1917. They took a train all the way to Vancouver and then down to California. My grandmother kept a detailed journal about their trip which lasted for several months. My husband Dave and I are in the doorway of a thousand-year-old temple along the Yangtze River in 2003.  The flooding caused by the Three Gorges Dam which was under construction at the time was going to make the water rise up to the mark Dave is pointing to on the door. No one would ever be able to enter the temple again. 

My son and his wife pose in front of a door on their wedding day in 2006. The door was opening on a whole new life together for them, which has included travel to many interesting places, enriching educational opportunities, rewarding career choices, lots of friendships, good family times and last month the birth of their first child. 

The door had come off this cupboard which was washed up on the beach in Phuket, Thailand after the tsunami in 2004. Our family was in Phuket when the tsunami struck and fortunately, because of a series of lucky choices, we survived. However, the experience was one that  left an indelible impression. 

Our younger son stands in the doorway of our home on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Arizona. We lived and worked there for a year in the early 1990’s. He is ready to go on a fishing trip with his Hopi Head Start class.  At Head Start our son learned to speak Hopi, learned much about Hopi culture and his attendance at Head Start classes provided an opportunity for us to interact with the local community in unique ways. 

I took the picture of this little girl in the doorway of her home in a water village on Lake Tonle Sap in Cambodia with her parents’ permission.  The lake is where her family does their laundry, takes a bath, cleans their vegetables, brushes their teeth and goes to the bathroom. The roof of this lean-to is made of woven reeds and it was a jumble of sleeping mats, tin cans, plastic pails, bowls of food, boat batteries, fishing tackle and clothes. 60,000 children under the age of 5 die in Cambodia every year.
I am framed in the front doorway of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. I woke up at 5 am in order to get to the Taj Mahal on time to see the sunrise. The Taj Mahal was perfectly reflected in the long narrow pool that leads up to it. A tint of rose in the sky cast a pink shadow on the manicured trees and lawn. A lone hawk was circling the top minaret of the Taj Mahal, stopping for a moment to hover at its pinnacle. It was a moment I won’t forget.Our family –cousins, kids, grandparents, aunts and uncles pose in a doorway on the dock in Leamington, Ontario twenty years ago preparing for our annual excursion by ferry-boat to Pelee Island where one family from our extended clan made their home. Good times that won’t come again, but will be replaced by new ones.

door in yangshou china

While biking in Yangshou China in 2005 I photographed this abandoned house

Doors are for walking through.

There are so many doors to be opened and I’m not afraid to look behind them.  –Elizabeth Taylor

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The Hopi Reservation

Visiting Hopi Mission School

The Taj Mahal at Dawn

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