The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. So said Flora Whittemore, an American woman who lived till 103 and so no doubt knew a thing or three about life. I have had a fascination with doors for as long as I can remember. At various stages in my life I’ve wanted them open, always open, even into the bathroom. At other stages, I’ve wanted them closed. More times I didn’t care much one way or another. I never stop long enough to wonder why. I just accept. I go through phases. One phase that has been pretty constant though is wanting to know what lies behind the various doors I’ve wandered past, down various streets, in various villages, towns, cities, and countries. And for a door lover, Morocco is door heaven, the town of Essaouira in particular.
The mosaic tiling. The carved stone. The metal studs. The doors of Essaouira, in various stages of repair or disrepair, all lead to other worlds, to God knows what. The blue that is somewhat universally associated with Morocco is vibrant no matter how faded it is.
And even when you add the ubiquitous graffiti, the doors of Essaouira still leave so much to the imagination. Perhaps it’s the colours that I’m so taken with. Or the sturdiness. Or the fact that they suggest former days of glory. Perhaps they’re some sort of analogy for ageing gracefully, of shabby chic, of a slow but beautiful wearing away of glitz and glam. Even doors that aren’t doors at all front a story. I have no clue why they fascinate me so. But fascinate me they do.
Morocco wasn’t ever really on my list of places to go. Well, not high up there, anyway. I had never heard of Essaouira. I still have a smidgin of trouble getting my head around the fact that it’s in Africa. And while I have often thought I could never live in an Islamic society – and still could never, ever, live anywhere that enforced Sharia law – a door, once shut, has now opened. Morocco changed my mind.
PS. Check out Steve McCurrry’s photos of doors – spectacular