The blue door. Abandoned project #2

The door was locked. I expected nothing less. Every day for three months I’d tested this door, every day since I’d first noticed it. Why hadn’t I stepped down this alleyway before? What was it about that Tuesday in July that made me take a different path? My walk to the university had been boring, predictable even, up until that day.

Had I even seen that alleyway before – really seen it? Certainly it had passed before my eyes, but just as certainly it had not passed before my mind.

A new path, once taken, changed the path-taker forever.

A part of me wanted to drink in every nook and cranny, every crease and crevice. I wanted it to stay new, stay fresh. I was wary of this new path becoming worn like my old one, so familiar and comfortable that I didn’t even see it anymore. I was wary of it becoming just a way to get somewhere, instead of a destination in and of itself.

But this door was different. I’d tested it unthinkingly that first afternoon because of the aromas wafting through the gaps created by a century of settling. I was certain it must be the gateway to the side courtyard of a restaurant. Only when the portal did not budge did I take the time to look for a sign on the wall. Finding none, I halted. If this was a home and not a restaurant, I should not persist.

The next day I chose to walk down that alleyway again, noticing even more than I had the day before. How much I had missed! Yet again I was drawn to this door. This time I could hear a child’s laughter and the sounds of a fountain. What treasures lay behind this ancient door? What Paradise was hidden just beyond these walls? To imagine that just a few inches of stone and stucco separated me from this treasure! A hand’s breadth away from the dirt and grime of this forgotten alley-street was another world. I would have to check this door every day from now on until it yielded to me.


(The image is from Pinterest – copyright belongs to the photographer.)



There is a conference center on Monteagle Mountain, in Tennessee. I am familiar with it because of the Episcopal church. I have been there numerous times over my life for retreats when I was in college and later as an adult. I love the Spanish-style courtyard. I remembered how much I loved it when I returned to it in November of 2012 for Cursillo. I regret that I didn’t take pictures then, because when I returned in April for a different retreat they had dug up my favorite tree in the center of the courtyard and also hacked away at two others. It was rather sad looking. The only advantage was that it made it easier to see the beautiful buildings.

I know that the conference center is open to groups other than those affiliated with the Episcopal church. This gives me hope, because I would like to go there again. The rooms aren’t great, but the ambiance is pretty amazing. The food is very comforting and filling, with a very kind and pleasant kitchen staff.

This is the first view I normally have of the courtyard. This is just off the foyer from the main entrance.


Panning right.


A little further right.

A view of the same area at a different time of day, standing out and further to the right.

Turning from that area to the left.

This is taken a little further to the side and back, and shows the corner that I was standing in to take the first pictures. I love this view, and saw it every morning on the way to breakfast, as the meal hall is in the building to the far left.


Now I’m standing where the arches are, so I’m at the end of the walkway away from the entrance to the courtyard. The dining hall is straight ahead. At the far left is the area I was standing to take the last picture.

Panning right.


Turning around, looking at the arches.


Turning further right. I love these angles.

Stepping back, and looking further right.

Now, let’s step into the arches, and turn with our left shoulder facing the entrance to the courtyard. In the fall, the maple tree at the end of this area is glorious.

Then, turning around, the entrance to the main chapel and a classroom that is above it, called “The Upper Room”.

There are a lot of little foyers on the way to the classroom and the chapel, and outside, to the left of one is this interesting sculpture. Sadly, I’ve forgotten who he is. I don’t think he is Dubose.

Here he is straight on.

If you go further left you’ll see the covered walkway to one of the dorms. They are exactly like 1950’s Holiday Inn hotel rooms.

Standing on that walkway, with my back to the dorm rooms.

I hope you have enjoyed our little tour, and that you get a chance to go.