Monday, July 18, 2016

Word of the Week - 124

Italy, a front door.
One of the miniature fairy doors in NYC.
Word of the Week:  PORTALS

"There must be some kind of way outta here..." (lyrics by Bob Dylan, as sung by Jimi Hendrix.)

The cupboard to Narnia, the rabbit hole, places where realities intersect or the veil thins.  Are they escape hatches or entrances, or, more likely, both?  Whatever assists in shoehorning us from an ordinary state to one of pure non-ordinariness becomes, by definition, a portal.  Unfailingly, books meet that definition.
Since it is only July, I will probably mention it again in the next few months:  summer takes me back to hours spent reading.   All that uncommitted time, the wish to remain still and unsweaty, the sense of burrowing into a book and becoming invisible in the here-and-now.  My son uses the word "yoink" to mean lifted, stolen, taken, filched.  Books yoink me, always have, always will. 

Portals, as in the photo above, the tiny door in the base of the lamp post or between gnarled roots of a great tree, beneath a lifted rock or hidden on the ledge behind a waterfall.  A car which you enter from the left, then exit on the right into an unfamiliar dimension, a transformational hat, a magic mirror, a spell, an unidentifiable key that opens an unknown lock, a never-before-noticed stairway, the stuff of magic.

In such times as these, portals become not amusements but necessities.  If we stay here too long we risk being overtaken by so much that is wrong, dreadfully askew.  It is only frequent escape that allows me to remain without spontaneous human combustion or melting down into a puddle of toxic dreariness.  The more ways in which we can remind ourselves of vitality, of being militantly alive, the better our odds at transcending whatever would lay us low.  What we seek is not permanent escape but respite.  A door that allows us to find our way home again after a rejuvenating lull, that is all we need. 

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