The Iron Gate

I don’t know where this story came from. 

I know I’m the one who wrote it, many years ago, but what dream-maker or muse placed the images and ideas in my head I can’t fully understand or explain.

I wrote it for a friend, but now I see I also wrote it for myself.

Just maybe, since coincidence doesn’t exist but synchronicity does, you have come to the story because it was also written for you.  Please open to that possibility and enjoy, because it is sent to you with love.

jap_garden_maple_tree

Once a man was walking along the street, when he noticed a beautiful garden behind a high iron fence.  The man was overcome with a great desire to go into the garden.  It looked irresistible.

He could smell the slightest hint of perfume from the flowers, but he knew that if he was in there, the scent would be overwhelming and he’d be able to drink it in for as long as he wished.  The grass was soft and waved gently in the breeze.  He ached to be there, laying in it and staring up into the trees.  There were secret corners and paths he could not see from the street, and he longed to be able to follow and explore them.

No one else seemed to be in the garden, or even to notice it.  He felt strangely certain that this garden was there especially for him – if only he could find a way into it.

shut the gateHe followed the fence for a long way, but it was far too high to climb.  Eventually, after turning several corners, he came to a gate.  This too was very high and made of iron, but the man was filled with hope.  Perhaps the hinges were weak; perhaps the catch was rusty.  He stepped back and took a run at the gate, throwing his full force against it.  It barely moved, and the pain was excruciating.  His shoulder was bruised and his wrist was sprained.  He had jarred his leg badly and his whole body felt battered.  Despite this, though, he smiled.

“That must have weakened the gate,” he told himself.  “Next time I’ll manage it.”

A few days later, when the swelling and bruising had died down, he returned to the gate and, once again, threw himself at it with all his might.  As before, it stayed firm and he was battered and injured by the experience.  He refused to be put off, however, always returning and enduring the same pain, just for the chance of entering the garden.

“After all,” he reasoned, “Such a beautiful, enchanted place is worth all the suffering.  I should have to go through pain if I’m to reach that perfect garden.”

As time went by, he began to think about the necessity for the pain more than about the garden.  It had become a ritual he had to endure.  He felt proud if he made himself suffer more frequently, or if the bruising was worse than usual.

“That’s got to be good,” he said.  “That takes me closer to my goal.”

 

Finally, the inevitable happened – he ran at the gate so hard that he banged his head against the metal bars and knocked himself out.  He lay, motionless, on the pavement.

White feather on rust

White feather on rust (Photo credit: Marius Waldal)

Slowly, a perfect white feather floated from high above down through the sunlight and landed beside him.  He could not have heard any sound and yet the motion made him stir.  He tried to sit up, but felt dizzy and disorientated.  Someone seemed to be beside him, but perhaps he was not yet fully conscious.  The figure appeared to be very tall.

The man felt the softest of touches to his shoulder.  His pain seemed to subside.  He was not sure whether the figure had spoken.  He didn’t remember hearing any sound, yet there was a question in his head, as if someone had just asked it.

The question was so obvious; he couldn’t see how he had not thought about it before.

“Why not?” he asked himself, and reached up to turn the handle of the gate.  It swung open easily.

He stood, wondering at the lack of pain, and walked through into the garden.  It was as beautiful as he had imagined – more so, in places.  He felt peace and warmth and happiness flowing through him.  He’d had no idea that life could feel this good.

 

When you reach your gate, why not simply open it and go through?

 

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4 comments on “The Iron Gate

  1. That is a lovely story, I was reminded of a story my father wrote for my me and my younger sister when we were quite young. Not like yours, but written in the same frame of mind, I think. He called it “On the other side of the hill”
    I am really looking forward to your next book!

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