I visited the house with “the gate” yesterday, you know….the “gate” house.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the gate, an inviting front entrance to a home near my daughters, framed by vines and greenery and beckoning visitors with it’s intrigue. I first noticed it on an earlier walk with Madden.
Seeing as I had some extra time on this particular trip I thought I should see if I could find out what was beyond the gate, behind the green door if you will. My daughter and I took a walk with Madden to grab some lunch and on our route we decided to stop by. It was as simple as strolling up the stone covered path to the entrance, passing through the swinging gate, and ringing the front bell. My daughter waited expectantly on the street.
Unfortunately I was disappointed on my first attempt at contact with the keeper of the gate. I approached the open front door and stepped over multiple pairs of shoes on the stoop. I knocked and could hear sounds within the house but there was no one to answer my knock, no body to greet me and enlighten me on my quest. I felt alone, and incomplete, somehow cheated and short changed. I needed to know, to understand about the gate and what lie beyond.
While I waited behind the gate however I did glimpse the zen garden hidden from the street and whether it was my fearing unattended discovery or a respect for the owners I chose to leave the space without further ado. There will be another time I thought. And there was.
The opportunity came on our return pass. We had finished our lunch and strolled back along our earlier path. Again I approached the gate and passed beyond. Again I knocked. This time I was rewarded with a “Hi, how are you doing?”
I met the owner of the space, the owner of the gate. She responded to my presence with a pleasant greeting. I explained my purpose, my curiosity, my desire to know. She understood. She acknowledged my need and my hope, she supported my request for pictures.
“Are they for personal use or professional?” , she asked.
“Personal” I replied. I explained my purpose. I was intrigued by the gate, I wondered what it was protecting.
The timing was not good she told me, she suggested I return the next day, which was yesterday, when she could spend more time with me. I complied. I left and returned just after lunch.
I was greeted warmly on my return. Her husband Paul met me at the door and ushered me around the side to the back yard where Diane waited.
She appeared excited to see me and we began our talk and our tour of the many intimate sitting areas and gardens. Their yard was lush and mature with multiple plantings of shrubs and trees, many transplanted years ago from their previous house. A Japanese garden theme was predominant and a partially constructed pagoda dominated one corner. It was to be her studio, to paint water colors and plan future projects. It was to be her holy place.
We sat and had a glass of wine while she told me the story of the yard, how in it’s previous incarnation it was featured in Gardens West magazine, and how they dug up and transplanted most, if not all, the plants and trees from it to their current location. It was an undertaking for sure, a labor of love. I was amazed and inspired.
I enjoyed our chat and our tour. We agreed to keep in touch and I said I’d love to come by again, perhaps take more photos when the yard was more “finely tuned”. They had just had some very tough weeks personally and unfortunately hadn’t had the ability to weed and prune to their satisfaction. It will be better on my next visit they assured me.
So the next time you see something like “the gate” be sure you stop in and check it out. You will likely be pleasantly surprised what beauty and peacefulness it may protect. You may make new friends and also be inspired. The gate can be a doorway to a new world.