In The Expanse series by James S.A. Covey, Miller (the detective who ends up somehow becoming part of the protomolecule’s re-envisioning of Venus) warns Holden that doors and corners are the particularly tricky parts of detective work. In his words, “they’ll get you killed,” advice that Holden remembers often.
Not being cool enough to be a police officer I have a bit different relationship with doors and corners, and I find them even in the woods. One of my favorite memories of Oregon is a mountain bike scouting trip I did that at one point saw me riding between two impossibly thick sets of blackberry hedges, up a grassy trail that clearly hadn’t been ridden much, and disappearing into a fog that was so soupy that I stopped so I didn’t peddle off a ledge.
That door felt like it was heading directly to the Hall of the Mountain King, awakening in me all my adolescent fanboi desire for the fantastic (as developed by Tolkien, of course). The upward movement that that door implied led to possibilities – perhaps as loaded with danger as Miller’s warning makes clear – and it reminded me of this sort of door, this sort of corner…
That spot is less than three miles from my house, and I hike this loop probably three times a week (I’m a bit obsessive with workout routes, perhaps from my previous life as a runner). And yet even though I’m there so often I still often look at it and wonder how I got here. It’s one of those is-this-Ohio moments that makes me think that maybe those transcendental dudes knew what they were talking about.
Doors and corners appeared at the kayak race as well. I watched (maybe it’s shredder time next year, but we will see) as about forty kayakers tackled the double drop with varying degrees of success.
The portals in this configuration, I think, lead to a bit different type of opening. Even while boating has been much more mainstream and is even featured in safe corporate ads, it remains at its heart I think what the race signified – a door to a day (or two or more) of wetter-than-hell adrenaline-soaked dancing with the primal forces of the planet. Last I checked, water still flows downhill, and the doors that it opens are about more than fun or even adventure – they serve as a connection to something grander and wilder, parts of us that have always existed at a level below consciousness but that forms what might be the only truly essential part of our beings.