Seize us oh Lord

“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You.
Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back.
Kindle and seize us.
Be our fire and our sweetness.
Let us love.
Let us run.”

St. Augustine


(flower stall / Zurich, Switzerland /Julie Cook / 2018)

“When you sit down to eat, pray.
When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you.
If you drink wine,
be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness.
When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes.
When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars,
throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way.
Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises,
when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God,
who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know,
love and praise their Creator.”

St. Basil the Great

how a panic gets started…

“I always thought a shipwreck was a well-organized affair,
but I’ve learned the devil a lot in the last five minutes.”

Erik Larson, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania


(a decadent chocolate treat from The Confiserie Sprüngli / Zurich, Switzerland /
Julie Cook / 2012)

I think most of us know that it is unlawful to yell “FIRE” in a crowded
public venue when there is actually no fire.

The original use of the phrase “shouting fire in a crowded theater” actually
dates back to a Supreme Court case from 1919.
It was a case that dealt with the distribution of anti-war pamphlets and whether such
an act was a violation of the original Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 / 1918—
and was such an act in opposition, as well as a violation, of free speech or was it considered ‘a clear and present danger.’

It was actually Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who coined the phrase when
he wrote the unanimous ruling over the case.

And according to Wikipedia:
People have indeed falsely shouted “Fire!” in crowded public venues and
caused panics on numerous occasions, such as at the Royal Surrey Gardens Music Hall
of London in 1856, a theater in New York’s Harlem neighborhood in 1884,
and in the Italian Hall disaster of 1913, which left 73 dead.
In the Shiloh Baptist Church disaster of 1902, over 100 people died when
“fight” was misheard as “fire” in a crowded church causing a panic and stampede.

All of this came flooding back to the forefront of thought when I saw a news report
with the near cataclysmic title
“Start Hoarding! Chocolate on Track to Disappear in 40 Years”

WHAT????

Chocolate gone in 40 years????

We might just say down here in the South, “thems fighting words”

After reading that title I felt a sudden urge to run to the kitchen, throw open
all the kitchen cabinet doors and take immediate stock of all the chocolate I have
stashed away for baking purposes….
Do I need to run the the grocery store and purge the shelves of 70% Cacao bars for all
my baking and dessert purposes????

Visions of pandemonium breaking out on the candy aisle at the local grocery store
as visions of a bunch of older ladies on walkers and kids with sneakers that light up fighting over bags of M&M’s…not a pretty picture.

And so goes the latest in a string of earth shattering headlines that when all
is shifted and shaked out…are not exactly as life shattering or life ending as
the words allude.

Clicking on the story and reading the tale behind these alarming headlines and
whereas the dwindling supply of chocolate is truly a real concern…
the headlines are not as dismal nor as damning as they lead one to believe.

And therein lies our trouble.

Sensationalism.

The “news” media has learned that they can grab and stir up the masses into
a frenzy of epic proportions with just a couple of carefully lined up words.

And we, the receivers, fall hook, line and sinker to the gurus of verbiage.

The moral of this tale you ask…..
well perhaps it is two fold…..
Firstly do not take headlines at face value….

In education we call such headlines “a hook”—-as in it grabs your audience…
pulling the recipient quickly into a state of curiosity while knowing that they,
your target audience, will be naturally curious… wanting to know more,
experience more, participate more….

And secondly–yes, in the reality of life, the cocoa plant is in peril….
yet is the peril as grave as we are being lead to believe?

I think the jury is still out on that….
and therefore, it would behoove us to be a bit more cautionary when it comes
to feeling the need to race to the store…grabbing up those precious bags of M&Ms
out of the hands of the grandparents and those fighting grandchildren…

https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/world/2018/01/02/start-hoarding-chocolate-track-disappear-40-years/109090682/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatodaycomworld-topstories

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

The power of Chocolate

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

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(a decadent slice of chocolate heaven from Sprungli’s cafe Zurich, Switzerland / Julie Cook / 2012)

For Mother, it was an icy cold Coke.
For Dad, it is chocolate, any and all sort.

Yesterday, late morning, I ran into one of my family’s favorite places in Atlanta.
Henri’s Bakery.
Henri’s is one of the oldest existing bakeries in the city, that and Rhodes Bakery. And granted there are better tasting bakeries within the city, Henri’s has long been woven into the fabric of my life starting when my mother was a little girl. I’ve never really thought much about it but I suppose having a very french sounding bakery in the middle of “old Atlanta” is a bit odd, especially to those transplant yankees and / or visitors to the city.

Henri’s is in the exact same location it’s been in since I was a little girl. Tucked away on a small unassuming little side street and now prime real-estate corner lot, lacking adequate parking, almost cowering in the shadows of high-rise office buildings, uber chic condos and the elegant St Regis Hotel. . .in an area that is at the center of what one considers to be the heart of true Atlanta or more commonly known as Buckhead.

Today’s Buckhead area is known for its posh and ultra chic shopping, Michelin Star dinning, eclectic watering holes, and 5 star hotels—a playground and shopping mecca of the famous and not so famous.
I simply just know it as the place where I spent my childhood and my growing up as both my grandmothers lived in Buckhead. It’s where my mom and dad grew up. . . walking to attend school, riding bikes to the movies, eventually meeting on a blind date and lucky for me, marrying.

Buckhead’s humble beginning was a far cry from today’s scene of upscale prestige. There once was an old general store at the crossroads of what is today’s Roswell Rd and Peachtree Rd. A single dirt road diverged into two separate dirt roads exactly at the site of the general store, with the store being the stopping point on one’s journey up either of the two roads. On the front of the old general store, up above the door, was a mounted head of a buck—hence Buckhead. This was a time long before Sherman had even set his sites on Atlanta, burning it to the ground.

Henri’s opened up in Atlanta in 1929, owned and operated by Henri Fiscus–a man who immigrated to Atlanta from France where he had been trained as a classic Chef. The original location was actually in downtown Atlanta–the location where my aunt remembers visiting every Sunday evening, along with my mom and grandmother, as they would go pick up Sunday’s quick and easy, but oh so fresh and good, supper. To this day, when she comes back to Georgia for a visit, I have to take her over to Atlanta to Henri’s for one of their famous Po Boys on the savory house made French Baguettes. I happen to be partial to the shortbread cookies. . .

I had driven over to Atlanta yesterday to run a few errands before going over to see Dad.
I had told Dad that I would pick up lunch.
“Oh no you don’t have to do that, I think we have something here”
“Dad, just ask Gloria if she’d like for me to pick up lunch.”
“GLO”
“Dad, if she’s not close by just ask her later and call me back”
I think he was afraid he’d forget to ask her as he continued hollering her name.
I suppose getting up and going to see where she was would have been too much to ask.
“GLO”
“IT’S JULIE ON THE WIRE”
Wire Dad?
Long story of yelling short, Gloria said yes, she’d like for me to pick up lunch.

After running a few errands in town, I headed over to Henri’s.
The last place my grandmother had lived was across the street from Henri’s.
Her condominiums having long since been torn down, now making room for a sprawling modern upscale living and shopping development. As I fight off the sweeping cloak of melancholy and longing that always finds me when I drive past my memories, I fretted about finding a parking spot.
Henri’s gets very very crowded at lunchtime–so much so that they have an off duty Atlanta policeman directing traffic.

Today I was lucky, a spot at the front door! Woohoo!!
Walking in the door, I immediately grab a shopping basket and head over to the shelf containing the sandwiches. There is only a limited number of the “famous” sandwiches that are made up for the day–if you’re not early, you miss out but there is now a counter where you can have your sandwiches custom made if you prefer. I grab two of the Po boys and a regular turkey on white for dad, a couple of sacks of chips as I make for the most important counter in the store. . . the beautifully displayed pastries, cakes and cookies.

As I ogle the decadent goodies through the glass, a woman behind the counter asks if she can help me.
I ask for 2 dozen of the shortbread cookies, the ones with the little colorful sugar dot in the center, with each dozen going in a separate box. One box to stay with dad, one box to go home with me.
Next I ask for the most important item of all on my list—two chocolate bombs.
A most decadent conglomeration of chocolate cake, cream, chocolate ganache, a chocolate shell covered in chocolate shavings—for I know my father’s weakness. . .Chocolate.

Dad let’s me in the house as I carry in our lunch.
Like a little kid, he can’t wait for me to pull out the magic little white boxes.
“What’s that?”
“What’s in there?”
“What’s in that box?”
“Cookies Dad.”
“Oooo, I love cookies”
“What’s in that thing?”
“That Dad is your chocolate bomb–2 of them” I proudly proclaim knowing that I have just made his day.
“Oooooo”

Dad eats only half his sandwich before he asks for a cookie.
He chooses the cookie with the chocolate dot on top, opting the eat the chocolate center while leaving the shortbread cookie part behind. At 87 I’m thinking he’s acting more like 7 but I don’t say anything.
“Can I have my bomb now” as glee filled expectancy fills the room.
“You’ve got two of them Dad, you can eat them whenever you’d like!”
“I want one now” which is more of a demand than a polite statement.
In less then 10 minutes, the only thing remaining on his plate are a few chocolate crumbs.

Happy, chatty, friendly and the most attentive and focused he’s really been in a long time, Dad has had a good day, which in turn equates to my having had a good day with Dad.
There is often no substitute for the familiar, the tried and the true.
In this case a humble little outdated bakery which is still owned and operated by the founding family, throw in a couple of sandwiches, a box of shortbread cookies, a chocolate bomb or two, and you’ve got the making of a magical moment.
May we never under estimate the power of chocolate.

I love you so much. . .I gave you my cookies

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Lao Tzu

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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(a nibbled box of Sprüngli Amaretti cookies / Julie Cook / 2014)

About two years ago I took a little trek along with my two traveling companions, my aunt Martha and long time friend Melissa—a journey that became known as the Grand Retirement Trip–whereas they had each been retired for several years, the trip was to mark my rite of passage of catching up with them– prompting the adventure.

We kicked off the trip by spending two days in Zurich, Switzerland. While in the picturesque Swiss city, we wandered into the most delectable shop known as Confiserie Sprüngli—a part pastry / part snack shop complete with its very own confectionary store right next door. You and I may not be familiar with the name Sprüngli, but we are familiar with Lindt Chocolates—of which are actually, one in the same. The Sprüngli side maintains the pastry confection part of the business while Lindt is strictly the chocolates. Sprüngli remains in Switzerland while Lindt is in the US.

And of course I had to buy some goodies to take along for sustenance during the extensive trip. One item in particular caught my fancy. It was a small package of about 3 little cookie stacked on top of one another packaged in a cellophane wrapper with a pretty light blue bow and burnt orange tag. They were called Amaretti, an almond like macaroon, and of what I now know to be similar to the Italian treats by the name Amaretti di Saronno. The Sprüngli version however has a creamy cherry kirsch center covered in a delectable bottom layer of decadent rich dark chocolate

I stuffed them in my travel bag, wanting to save them for when I finally made it back home.

After almost three weeks on the road, we finally arrived home. Upon unpacking I sadly realized my once beautiful cookies had gotten sandwiched at the bottom of my backpack leaving me with a sufficiently crushed bag of crumbs.
No matter. . .I tore into the bag, savoring each delectable morsel.
Ooooo, I had to have more.
I went online to the Sprüngli website. Yes, I could order a box or two and they would indeed ship to the US, but. . .I figured it all up, the cost to ship the cookies would far exceed the cost of the cookies themselves. How was I going to rationalize this little spending spree?

Needless to say, I wasn’t. I decided that the only way I’d get any more of these lucious little treats would be if I ever found my way back across the ocean, landing in Switzerland. And that wasn’t happening anytime too soon.

Fast forward to last weekend.
My husband has a really good friend who was born and raised in Switzerland who now make his home in Florida.
It just so happens that this friend travels back home at least once a year to visit family and I just happened to know of his latest trip’s plans. . . I asked that if he happened to wander by Sprüngli’s while in Zurich, would he be so kind as to pick me up a box of the cookies. . .

Long story short, our friend came to visit us last weekend with my box of cookies in tow!!!
Wooowhoooo!!

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Delicious and delectable!
To be savored with deliberate patience, one by one—spreading out the consumption over time, slowly so as not to hurriedly eat them all up. . .as who knows when, if ever, I’ll ever have such a treat again.

I hesitantly offered one to my husband, pretty certain, praying, he wouldn’t like them.
His palate is a more Oreo and Chips Ahoy sort of palate and not the delectable cream cherry kirsch filled almond macaroon leaning of a more patient and delectable palate.
Thankfully, he made a face after his first little tentative bite, putting the remainder of the cookie back in the box.
Whew!
I and my cookies were safe. . .or so I thought. . .

Later that evening, as we were sitting, well after supper, watching Monday Night Football, he gets up from his chair heading for the kitchen.
“Where are you going?” I nonchalantly ask.
“No where” comes the response.
No where?. . . my mind muses, hummm, odd. . .
When it hits me like a ton of bricks. . .
“Tell me you’re not getting my cookies!!!!” I shout toward the kitchen.
He re-enters the room holding something clutched in his hand, the hand he’s trying oh so hard to just hold by his side as if nothing is there.
“YOU DO HAVE A COOKIE, DON’T YOU???!!! I practically scream.

Now mind you it’s not that I don’t want to share my cookies with him, but you must understand, this is a man whose idea of a cookie is a handful of about 5 or more and not the single little special savoring variety cookie that only happens into one’s lifetime once, maybe twice if one is so lucky.
“AGGGHHHHHHH” I scream jumping up as he pops the whole thing in his mouth as he closes with a huge grin.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO—YOU DON’T EAT THEM LIKE THAT!!!
He’s poised to pop another in his mouth when thankfully sanity regains its hold on him.

With a triumphant smile on his face, he offers me the now melting remaining cookie.
Ugh, I hang my head.
“Go ahead, you can have it” I sheepishly mutter.
Again, popping the whole thing in his mouth, he grins
Oooo the agony of it all. . .

Now that he has sufficiently tormented me, he proceeds to munch on the handful of Fig Newtons he had originally gathered. Who can follow delectable wonderment with a fig newton??!!
See what I mean??

Hours later, as I crawl into bed, with my husband fast asleep and snoring like nobody’s business, I wonder, as well as marvel, how in the world he can be in the bed no more than 5 minutes and he’s already sound asleep, I turn out the light.

Situating myself under the covers, through the darkness I utter a soft “I love you” as I’m certain he’s sound asleep.
Suddenly I hear a very groggy muffled, as if far away, “. . .love you too. . .”
I counter with my familiar “love you more”
again a groggy “no you don’t”
“oh but I do”. . .I whisper, “I love you more because I gave you my cookies”
And with that the heavy snoring resumes as I contently smile in the darkness.

As I lie there in the dark staring up at the ceiling, pondering the thought of what it means to love someone so much so that you’d give away special cookies, I am suddenly struck by the enormity of what has been done and given to me in the name of that same Love I casually wrap myself in like a warm blanket.
Giving and Sacrifice, each on a massive scale.
My thoughts race across time to an ancient form of torture and capital punishment, a cross with a lone figure hanging by 3 piercing iron nails—first in agony, then limp in the utter and total betrayal of loneliness and isolation, cut off from any and all.

With a sudden rush of tremendous clarity, I am overwhelmingly struck by what “loving someone more than” is really all about. . .

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
1 John 3:16

Loving and being loved even more than a box of cookies. . .

“travel thirsty my friends”

“A pair of wings, a different respiratory system, which enabled us to travel through space, would in no way help us, for if we visited Mars or Venus while keeping the same senses, they would clothe everything we could see in the same aspect as the things of the Earth. The only true voyage, the only bath in the Fountain of Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees, that each of the is;”
Marcel Proust—La Prisonnière

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(Photograph: the door to a lovely home/ Zurich, Switzerland/ Julie Cook/ 2013)

One of the greatest offenses committed by those who do travel, of those who are labeled simply as “tourists” –is that they do not “see” the places and or sights of where it is a journey takes them through new eyes…that is to say as through the eyes of others. When any of us attempts viewing other people, other places, other cultures though our own eyes–that is through our own experiences, our own filters, we often walk away disappointed and even “less than” by the experience.

The tourist expects to be on the receiving end, to be entertained, to be catered to, to simply and quickly see the surface and just as quickly, move on to the next site or activity—they are receptors, not participants. They merely skim the surface and are often disappointed. The tourist is passive–just waiting for “it” to come to him or her and then very very upset and disappointed when “it” never comes.

The traveler goes open and ready; open to what may lie ahead during the journey. The traveler is ready for what the journey may or may not provide and is then ready to dig deeper if something is missed. The traveler is active, always seeking, not satisfied with what’s merely on the outside. They must go, they yearn to go, beyond what is merely seen on top—they can’t walk away until they know more…

Are you a tourist or a traveler—do you want to experience more from your journeys, your trips? Or are you merely satisfied with merely the top layer of life?

First— never be afraid of venturing beyond your own door, your own driveway, your own yard. If we live in fear of the what if’s; the chances of danger and harm, the mishaps…we run the risk of never knowing anything new or different. We miss the opportunity of making or finding a new friend, a new love, a new joy. We must be ready to go when called, to be open to the new possibilities—for the chance to go, to see, to experience is all a gift—a grand gift we give ourselves and the world.

Secondly— do not sit back waiting for “life” to come to you—it won’t. You must take an active role. You must be willing to get wet, get dirty, get crowded, get tired if you’re going to make more of any journey. Be open to new tastes, new sounds, new sights…then and only then can you truly say that you have traveled and are the better for it.

To “mis-use” a quote from a popular commercial—“travel thirsty my friends”

Dali and Age…odd? Yes.

“Let the labyrinth of wrinkles be furrowed in my brow with the red-hot iron of my own life, let my hair whiten and my step become vacillating, on condition that I can save the intelligence of my soul – let my unformed childhood soul, as it ages, assume the rational and esthetic forms of an architecture, let me learn just everything that others cannot teach me, what only life would be capable of marking deeply in my skin!”
― Salvador Dalí

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(photograph: a bowl of nicely aged peppers)

Salvador Dali, to some art lovers (and my former students), is considered indeed one of the “great” artists of modern time. He help heralded the Surrealist movement to the forefront of the art world during the mid 20th century. Dali, however, is not credited with necessarily birthing Surrealism, but was rather the artist who seems best remembered for the role he played in it’s advancements.

Surrealism was actually born in Zurich in the early 20th century at the onset of World War I, under the blanket of the DaDa movement. A basic escape from conventional art, literature and thought–with a step into the world of the absurd– all full of youthful angst, disillusionment, a world war, political unrest and creative unhappiness. It was tongue and cheek, a youthful flight from the tried and true norm of the time. I am not a fan, but my students were always drawn to the allure of the DaDa and Surrealist movements– as to Dali in particular.

There is a certain curiosity to Dali’s work. It certainly draws the viewer into the canvas. Be it his bizarre combinations or the odd placement of subject matter, the exaggerations of human or animal forms, or his peculiar take on a historical event–all of which are portrayed in his paintings– to his even more bizarre and eccentric behavior during his lifetime— my kids love(d) Dali. He was always a favorite to imitate, explore and study. They even enjoyed the old black and white Youtube clips of Mike Wallace’s 1958 interview with Dali. Of which I find ridiculous, as he (Dali) appears simply daft–poor Mike Wallace.

I did stumble upon this Dali quote today. I am also feeling a bit ancient of body as I am still dragging around this blasted air-boot cast on my leg. Noticing the dried peppers as I was cleaning up the kitchen, I decided I was feeling pretty much how they looked, wrinkled and worn out. I remembered the quote and thought it aptly summed up my current mood. But in pairing Dali with my mood, perhaps all is not lost as there is truly a bit of the absurd involved—giving way to Dali’s ability of not taking things (or in my case, myself) too seriously. One thing I will give him credit for–even if I think him more of a nutcase, his ability to not take life too seriously—sometimes I just need reminding…Thank you Señor Dali.

What’s in a door? Utilitarian necessity or art? I say both.

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“Strange – is it not? That of the myriads who Before us passed the door of Darkness through, Not one returns to tell us of the road Which to discover we must travel too”
Horace

Over the weekend I had another blgoger visit my “site” and reblog the post on “Thank the Door Openers.” I, of course, am humbled and honored whenever anyone visits my posts, likes my posts, and especially wishes to reblog something I have posted. As I am a relative new baby to this blogging business, having just started at the end of February, I am not the most savvy when it comes to blogging—the procedures, the etiquette, the whole ropes of the blogging world. I just try to do my thing, and hopefully bring some sort of knowledge, pleasure, hope, happiness to anyone out there who may stumble across my little blog.

I also tend to be a bit naive when it comes to people, always just expecting people to be more like myself and mostly wanting to do the right things, especially by other people. So I’m assuming (there I go again) that reblogging is a good thing. The visiting blog site is all about “doors.” I’ve showcased a couple of my daily quotes with some pictures of doors I’ve taken on various adventures. The blog, which visited my little blog, is: legionofdoorwhores.wordpress.com
And I must say that there are some very beautiful pictures of doors, from all over the globe, on this blog.

When I first saw the name of the blog site, the word whore in the title kind of threw me, as the word has very negative connotations in my world. Growing up the word whore was used to describe a pretty low individual, mostly female, who just threw away, in most cases, one’s body for sex to and with everyone and anyone indiscriminately—it was an individual who possessed little to no self esteem, and as a younger person, the word, to me was just really bad.

As a lifetime high school educator, I have learned that certain words that were once considered negative and bad to, say, my generation, are used very freely and loosely today by this generation. I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing and I could write an entire paper on this little topic but that is not my intent today. I just really want to talk about doors.

So back to my being humbled by someone wanting to reblog my posting on a door…which got me thinking…. You may have seen my post “Never be deterred by the closing of a door” with the images of the Parisian doorknobs…I explained in that post how, on a trip to Paris, I had become captivated by the myriad of beautiful and old doorknobs, I was suddenly noticing, gracing the doors to home and shops all over the city of Paris.

Being a history nut, plus spending my life as a visual arts teacher, I saw the knobs as tangible links to Pairs, her ancient stories, as well as very small intimate pieces of her beautiful art…art that was not showcased or housed in a museum but actually free for everyone to see, touch and enjoy—but a type of art that most people simply walked passed without giving a second glance or thought.

I must confess that it was, however, on an earlier trip to Italy, that my visual interest to such things as doorknobs and doors was actually piqued. I began to understand the importance and history, as well as for the storytelling, which was behind so much of the aging architecture in these ancient European cities and towns. Maybe I feel this way because I am an American who has grown up with urban sprawl mentality– the concept of if it is old tear it down and make way for new, modern and sleek, because we know new is much better than anything old…I am sad to say….and that kind of thinking is indeed oh so wrong, but there I go digressing again.

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Our American story is the story of a baby compared to so much of the rest of the world. In the South, life dates to the Civil War, and in some spots, even to the Revolutionary War. Up North, things date to Pilgrims—out West it’s all about cowboys and gold rushes…none of this Mozart slept here, Galileo taught here, Peter and Paul were imprisoned here, Hadrian built this wall, etc, ad infinitim.

So what someone may see as a utilitarian object such as a knob, a door—I see as art, as beauty as history. On the latest trip, the great retirement adventure, I wanted to look at things other than knobs—windows perhaps. I had really liked windows in Italy. My future daughter-n-law told me that Prague was known for having beautiful doors…. maybe it was to be doors.

Once we landed in Zurich and began the acclimation to our new world, I was finding that it was to be doors after all. I began snapping pictures, much to the consternation of my traveling buds…. “Wait, stop here,” “no, wait, here, this is better,” …but soon my weary companions were eager partners in crime as they canvassed our jaunts picking out and choosing the next “star.”

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By journey’s end, almost 3 weeks worth of adventure, I probably had 150 shots of doors alone, not to mention my endless pictures of the sites and visions from our overall adventure. The doors are all from Zurich, Switzerland, Innsbruck, Austria, Salzburg, Austria, Vienna, Austria, Prague, the Czech Republic and Berlin, Germany.

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There are pictures of doors from the oldest Synagogue in The Czech Republic, to those of historic individuals such as the door to Kepler’s home in Prague, Mozart’s home in Salzburg, Schubert’s humble childhood home in Vienna. There are the ancient doors to mighty Cathedrals and welcoming churches, doors to wealthy homes as well as to humble homes. There are doors to offices, banks, businesses and schools as well as for back alley service doors.

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Doors to hotels, bathrooms, restaurants, doors to castles…some of the doors are well worn with age, some appear new. Some of the doors are metal; some are elaborate and decorated with intricate carvings, some simple and plain. Some of the doors have windows; others are just ancient slabs of heavy wood. There is even the door to Angela Merkel’s office at the German Chancellery, which is no different form all of the other doors in the Chancellery—a simple blue door.

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I suppose doors may be seen in one of two ways—they are either doors that invite or doors that repel. They are perceived as either shut and forbidding, or open and welcoming. I, for one, have never looked at a door as something that cannot be opened—at least, eventually opened—as in, come back later during operating hours, or, knock or ring the bell and someone will let you in.
Perhaps it’s all a matter of positive and negative. The proverbial glass that is half full or half empty. I just have never taken the time to think that a shut door necessarily means “no, not ever.”

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There are reasons, sadly, to lock and bolt doors—as in “don’t come in and rob me, hurt me, steal from me, harm me”—Churches in the big cities, here in the States, use to always keep doors open—24/7. Even now, in the smaller towns, sadly, churches must lock their doors. What once was open for those indeed of some quiet time lost in prayer is now locked tight from those who wish to take that which is not theirs—or those who wish to harm the alone, the single, the lonely. The sad list goes on and on.

But to me, however, a door, the knobs of a door, are all pieces of something beautiful. They are artistic, especially the older ones, the ones not usually found gracing the entrances here in the US. That’s not to say we don’t have pretty doors—we do, it’s just that they are not a prevalent as they are “across the pond.” If we want an old door, we usually have to go out to an antique store in order to buy one—on the other hand, across the pond, their doors have been up for quite some time—a couple of centuries at best.

May you view doors not as mere barriers but rather as stories—stories old as well as new. May you view doors as the handiwork of artisans and carpenters. May you view doors not as stopping points but as beginnings. There are possibilities behind every closed door, the possibilities begin when you knock and turn the knob—and don’t worry if it’s locked—just come back during operating hours.

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I’m including a few of my pictures with this post to give you some idea as to the type of doors found on an adventure. I’m also including a couple of the shots of the door book I put together—similar to the book of doorknobs….
Enjoy one person’s take on the utilitarian…

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…and to anyone who sees “their” door here…I am sorry if you are upset. I am not making any money from your door–I just thought it beautiful and wanted to share it with those who just pass by it every day without stopping to see beautiful “art.”