Open the Door

Regular readers doubtless will recall, we share our lives with two cats, Tux and Tiara. Many nights they snuggle on the bed with us. Not quite the picture of idyllic bliss it might seem. Tiara needs to nip Chris’ toes and ankles before settling down, whereas Tux flops between us. Once described as a muscular cat, Tux now camouflages his muscles with a layer of blubber.  As he claims his spot, he also drags the covers with him, leaving part of my body exposed to the night’s chill.  And yes! he purrs adorably, so I forgive him. 

In the wee hours he shifts, sitting on my head,  attempting to part hair from scalp. When I ignore this, he starts to pat my face with his paw, extending his claws a tiny bit. He explores my eyelids, my ears and my nostrils – sometimes restricting the oxygen flow.  By now, Tiara is roused, choosing to knock items off our nightstands; a flashlight, eyedrops, a pen.  She pounces viciously on them in training for how she’d like to “play”  with the daytime squirrels that lurk tantalizingly out of reach.  Flashlight pursued by manic cat makes a racket. Tux, should he not have fully roused me, now launches his considerable bulk on my full bladder, and Tiara, realizing that more serious tactics are required, leaps onto the dresser and scatters its ornaments and pictures onto the floor. Huge crashes and, if we are lucky, we are spared the sound of breaking glass.  At this point, there is nothing else for it but to get up, go downstairs, scatter some cat food and open the door. 

I came across a poem, The Door,  by Czech poet, Miroslav Halub, (see the link in End Notes; the reader describes why he likes it, which may deter our progress here.) The poem’s drum-beat refrain is Open the Door!  Recently we attended a socially distant and masked performance by renowned soprano, Renee Fleming. What a delight!  Her program embraced opera, Broadway, popular song, and jazz.  As you may imagine, we gave her a standing ovation even before she opened her mouth – and a tumultuous one at her finale, aptly entitled The Diva.  Her jazz section intrigued me, three pieces arranged by Maria Schneider to the words of poet (laureate,) Ted Koozer.  (Visit End Notes to hear this.)  At the time of composition, Ted was struggling with a form of chemotherapy that prevented him from going out in sunlight. Who among us would not hate that?  Frustrated, Ted finally got up in the early morning and went for walks in the dark and dawning light. Recently, Walking by Flashlight, he opened the door, seized the possibility and, consequently, wrote a hundred mesmerizing poems.

A year ago, Chris opened the cockpit door of a light airplane – a private  pilot’s license beckons on the near horizon.  

I doubt Holub’s poem restricts us to literal doors.  In times of lockdowns and shut-ins that’s just as well.  Our neighbor opened his front door to receive misdirected mail and told us he has Covid.  One door better kept shut!  There are countless challenges and opportunities that I have, like most of us, a tendency to evade, fearing to risk failure and vulnerability.  All the same, I opened Gregory Maguire’s literary door (he of Wicked fame.)  I sent him the first chapter of my forthcoming novel.  And no! he’s not going to promote it, twist his agent’s arm to publish it, but he read it and was extremely complimentary.  I plan on knocking on, opening and walking through many new doors as 2022 evolves. 

End Notes


Asterix and the Gladiator
Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo



Asterix and Banquet
Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo



Asterix and Cleopatra
Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo




Au bord de l’eau
Gabriel Faure
sung by Renee Fleming

Janis Ian



Music and Poetry

Winter Morning Walks
poetry by Ted Koozer,
music by Maria Schneider,
Dawn Upshaw soloist.


The Door 
Miroslav Holub

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