Windows and doorways

Marina and I have had to take quite a few important decisions recently. But come to think of it, that’s what our lives have been like for decades! We’ve walked through a few interesting corridors of life and have decided to walk through some doors with a lot of hope and sometimes limited knowledge of what we might find after passing through. We’ve changed jobs, bought, built and sold houses, moved to different countries, and so on. Usually with some idea of what to expect, but often things have worked out somewhat differently.

There’s light at the end of this “tunnel”, but who knows what opportunities lie behind the different doors? (Photo by Daniel Salcius on Unsplash)
A beautiful (if not very inviting) door in Stone Town, Zanzibar. No idea what lies behind it, perhaps a beautiful garden or courtyard?

So doorways can be daunting, risky, even scary. How scary, depends on a number of things – are we opening that door alone, or are we rushing through with our families? I think about how we decided to leave South Africa in the mid-90’s, moving our young family to Ghana for an estimated two years. This turned out to be a very good choice and we stayed for six years, when we uprooted again and moved to The Netherlands. Both of these decisions felt a bit risky at the time, but turned out be good ones. With the benefit of hindsight, the doors had looked more intimidating before we opened them, than they turned out to be.

Some mealtime wisdom provided by KLM

Windows are easier, you can look through at the view outside, while comfortably in your own space. (Or space that you inhabit as a guest.)

The beautiful view from a bedroom window that you can enjoy if you have friends living on Bowen Island, off Vancouver. And if they don’t mind you visiting :).
A very different view (from a hotel window) over Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Definitely more comfortable inside than outside, where the daytime temperature during early February was well below freezing!
Here is a view through a hotel window (well.., it was actually a door onto a balcony) that we could alternate with actually being on the beach outside, having a Corona (beer!), etc. (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)
Part of a ruined building (Maya temple?) in Playa del Carmen. I guess they didn’t have windows in those days, nor actual doors.
My own rendition of an old doorway somewhere in the Algarve, Portugal.

You will already know that my family and I have been fortunate – we have travelled to many locations around the world. Now you will also realise that I am always interested in doors and doorways. I don’t know why, maybe just because they look pretty, but perhaps also since old doors carry a sense of history and for me they always beg the questions: Who built them? What was protected behind them, or who passed through them, going where?

What used to be behind this doorway? (Madeira, Portugal)

Many of us are still travelling much less than we’d like to, and many of you may still (or again!) be “locked down” into a house or apartment by covid-19 regulations. Now that we often have to look at our doors from the inside, they have started to represent prison doors rather than opportunities. Which brings me back to windows… we are spending more time online with zoom meetings providing views into other people’s rooms and we are probably also spending more time looking through the various “windows” provided by Netflix or similar services. This is certainly true for me too, but I’m also finding myself looking at through windows into the past provided by my own pictures, some of which I’m sharing here.

I don’t have a picture of the “Door of no return”, through which slaves would be transferred onto waiting ships, but this image through a window at Elmina Castle, Ghana, is a more positive view anyway.

Some comments about doorways as decision points: As we progress through life, we sometimes make conscious decisions requiring a lot of thought and planning, before we open a door and step through. However, as I look back, I realise that we’ve sometimes walked through a doorway without realising it. A famous quote by the Danish philosopher (etc.) Soren Kierkegaard comes to mind: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” True. So while I am now trying to understand and describe my life experiences in the past, I’m hoping for many more exciting doorways to pass through in the future.

I am not sure whether this toilet door (in Etosha National Park, Namibia) represents an urgent need to enjoy the view, or just access to fresh air?

What are your own feelings about the doors that you have walked through, during your life? O that you still want to?

7 thoughts on “Windows and doorways

  1. Wow Ron. Laissez-Passez is the French phrase that came to mind reading this. Yes it has been a while since you rambled but this write-up was brewing well and good and it came with passion. Absolutely Inspiring

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  2. Wel, wel Ron! Baie goeie stuk en ‘n paar bekendes. Having shared a minute part of your road, Mara and me can identify with your sentiments. Particularly the Zanzibar , Etosha and Elmina Castle were old stomping grounds. Will send you some relevant photos.

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  3. Some lovely shots. Bath in England has some amazing doors at the Church by the Pump House. Your shot of UB makes me a bit nostalgic!

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