Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lessons From the Baba Yaga IX

The Door That Led to Nowhere

While Baba wasn't expecting this many visitors, you would have never known it by watching her. She enjoyed every minute spent with us and never treated any of us as a burden. My days were still filled with chores as they had been, but Baba took her time with the little ones. In the evening she and I still had our ritual: one hour before bed time to just sit and be together. I cherished the time more now as it was almost the only time we ever saw one another.

While the days were growing shorter the atmosphere in the little hut gradually changed as well. The young ones had brought the light of day into the house. And, like little children tend to also bring, there was joy and merriment most of the waking hours.

But Baba demanded order and respect. Whenever it was time for bed, or bath, or food, what she said was law. Now the infant was rarely any trouble. Infants, in their nature, will let you know exactly how they are feeling. It was a particular delight to Baba to have such a small daughter to raise. Most of the time she never let the baby out of her sight; she was always hovering like an anxious mother hen.

After some time had passed, it became clear that Baba was slipping out of the house leaving the older sister to watch over the baby. Baba would simply instruct the girl to watch over her sister for a few minutes, and she would disappear thru a door in the kitchen. I had seen her cross the threshold several times myself, but never knew where she went once she stepped through.

Once, when curiosity had gotten the better of me and Baba wasn't looking, I crept to the door and quietly turned the knob. I had expected to see some grand study; a room lined with books of spells and a cauldron in the center. Or at closet full of trinkets and toys.

Much to my dismay, however, there was nothing behind the door. Not even a room. No floor, no ceiling, not even any cranky stairs. Indeed, the door went to nowhere. Just another opening to the outside.

I was used to things on Baba's homestead being slightly on over the line of imagined lunacy, but even this was a extreme for an old witch like Baba.

Immediately my mind began filling up with ideas and fantasies about why this door was so important to Baba. And why had she been trying to keep it a secret? If it was truly just another door, why was there nothing on the other side? What could she possibly be hiding behind there? And would I ever find out?

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