Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mining Screen Doors For Metaphors

This is a thought I had while on the phone with my mom, and she asked me to write it down. So I'm writing it here, as I haven't blogged in a while.

Long spools of metal in many grades, many types, and many lengths line shelves in some corner of some aisle of most every hardware store. Strings of metal hurt the fingers when we play or work with them for any length of time; but as far as I can tell, spooled steel is the best of all possible materials for making screen doors.

Now, most of us buy screen doors. But in today’s retail environment of shoddy manufacturing practices and standard pre-sizing, it can be extremely difficult to find the right sized door for our hearts and minds; it can be hard to find the right texture, the right weaving, to fit across the many points of entry into the house of our soul. So, I would rather make mine than buy it.

I have found that when I fling open my front door and all my windows, much fresh air and sunlight rushes in. It’s beautiful and warm, even on the coldest days, because there is always much good in the air. My experience has shown that the world is basically good, that people are basically kind, and that most of the time they will treat the world – and you – with love, if given the chance.

But that’s just most of the time. Captain Obvious must have his day: sometimes people are mean. People can, in fact, be scummy as slugs. They can bite, they can nag, they can buzz you until you want to scream and swat them. They can be rather poisonous. Captain Obvious, again: these characteristics are not far removed from the grosser creatures in the insect world. This is not the side of people I like to dwell upon, but one has to think about it enough to defend oneself.

So one must put up screen doors because bug repellent smells awful and repels good things, too.

I think it stands to reason that when doors are open, everything comes in. I think it also stands to reason that good things are often worth the bad things that come with them, but not always; and I think it stands strongest that proper filtration is key to balance, for if we let every bad thing in our lives effect us as profoundly as the good, we're bound to be miserable. Or, possibly more accurately, we're bound to behave like toddlers and small babies: their smiles are the happiest pieces of sunshine, but the smallest of things, like a scoop of ice cream toppling off of a cone, is the Greatest Calamity In the World. I don't want negative things to have that kind of sway with me: I want to be vaguely aware that they are buzzing at the door so I can address them and send them away, but I don't want them to come in all the way with the sunlight.

I suppose that means that around my doors and windows there will be a bit more shade; screens do that. And, along the way, my fingers will ache and bleed with the weaving. From time to time, I imagine someone will kick in my door, and it will be particularly bloody to reconstruct weaving in the hole; but still, it will be worthwhile.

Finding the proper density, the best weave... it's not simple. But it's good work, leading, as all good work does, to a happy settling in of peace.

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