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The Monk's Door

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

This is a beautiful wooden door at the Briar Patch Inn, a few miles up Oak Creek from uptown Sedona, Arizona. It's a beautiful place to stay, but we just go there to eat breakfast every few weeks, especially when the weather is warm and we can sit at the handsome stone tables that overlook Oak Creek.

I often walk around the grounds after finishing my breakfast, while Marjorie enjoys reading by the creek. I find many scenes to photograph since the inn has a soothing park-like atmosphere and many charming Spanish-style cabins. (It was also at Briar Patch that I took the photograph of the beautiful sycamore tree bark that's in the December 30th post.) On the day I took this image, I was just wandering around and enjoying how the sunshine was decorating the grounds and buildings. The light and shadows on this door struck me as especially appealing, and I made this image with my iPhone's camera.

When I was working with it in Photoshop, I added a bit of blur to the image overall to soften the light and enhance the spiritual feeling of the scene. As I gaze at it now, my eye is drawn to the lock and its rusted chain, which surprisingly seems rather benign, as if it was gently locking a monk in his or her cell. Then, looking at the large gap below the bottom of the door, I imagine that it links the inner world of the monk's cell with our outer world of breakfasts and jobs, allowing the monk's energy to spread into the world, and our blessings to enter and nourish him or her.

As I hold this image and its possibilities in my awareness, it occurs to me that seeing can actually be a creative or spiritual process, rather than just a navigational one. In terms of reality, I think this door actually a storage room for gardening tools. But I won't ask the next time I'm there. I'll just mentally bow to the hermit within who is praying for us all.

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