Some doors close with an iconic noise. The sound our back door made back in Darien, Connecticut was the sound of freedom. I would hear the slam behind me, a muffled slap in the vortex created by a boy and his dog, flying out the door at breakneck speed, rushing off to an adventure yet to be imagined. When I hear that door I can smell coastal pine lilting on the sea smells of salt, wetness and mold. I can hear the sound of the water, lapping on the shores on some days while roaring in complaint on others. Day and night, the light would dance on the waves, coining the family term ‘light faeries.’ Just a slapping, slamming noise evokes all that.
My current back door is a slider. It makes a dirty sooshh noise as it glides back and forth on the aluminum track. There are no memories in that sound, at least none that deserve fanciful adjectives. In a couple of months it should be gone though. It is a casualty of the coming remodel. French doors will take up position where the slider once sat. I already have a mental image of a light breeze fluffing curtains, a kind of beckoning to pass through the doors to the new cedar deck beyond. As it is now, the slider is a boundary. It’s one of those places I cannot pass on my chair or scooter. But once complete, all of my house will be available to me. In a different way, a door that hasn’t even patented a sound already associates itself with freedom, much the way the slamming of my ancient back door all those years ago.
I’ve spent time at the slider. It’s one of the posts I sit in the house. Usually I sit and look at the weather through the slider. I watch white out snowstorms or deluge rains. I just sit and watch the precipitation make its way, my mind often a blank. I am immersing myself in the outdoor tempests while staying comfortable and safe. I wonder if I will sit and look through the french doors the same way. I guess there is something about a single giant pane versus a pattern of smaller lights. But I suspect that I will sit there and look out and imagine what it will look like with a natural pond and swimming pool out there. It’s funny how we try to make our yards emulate the very environment we built our houses to leave behind.
The door to my room will be replaced with one wide enough for my wheelchair. I am told that all of the new indoor portals will have whisper quiet doors, whether pocket doors, hinged doors, french doors. My door hangs up on its latch about halfway through the latching movement. So it sits and rattles as the house breathes until someone fully latches it or opens it. Sometimes I test my resolve by seeing how long I can tolerate listening to it rattle before I have to drag myself over and bump it closed. My room will also get a new set of french doors where there is only a window. I will have my own doors out to a deck I can look at my yard with. I can imagine myself on that deck, or sitting inside the room looking out at inclement weather.
Something as simple as a door can have a lot of baggage. It’s kind of funny how so many things, so many thoughts, could be generated by a door. Whether it is the slap of a screen door, the woosh of a slider, the creak of a hinge, all kinds of things can conspire to trigger recollections, good and bad.