A Wind in the Door is a gate that announces the presence of things unseen. When open, it allows humans and other earthly creatures to pass. When closed, fairies, spirits, and other wind-borne creatures can still move through it, and the sounds of the gate panels are the only evidence they were here at all.
The gate is not only inspired by the windborne things that dwell in Beebe Woods, but also by the fantastical creatures in some of my favorite childhood stories. Books are portals to the imagination, and their pages are passageways to other realms. The panels of this gate are a tangible fairy tale, filled with illustrations of benevolent creatures that have helped transport the characters from their world to other places, or have transformed them in some way. See if you can find all of the creatures and stories represented in the gate panels.
“Luckdragons are creatures of air, warmth, and pure joy. Despite their great size, they are as light as a summer cloud, and consequently need no wings for flying. They swim in the air of heaven as fish swim in water…” “…his long graceful body with its pearly, pink and white scales…bristling fangs, his thick luxuriant mane and fringes on his tail and limbs… The eyeballs in his lionlike head glistened ruby red.” – The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
“Yes, Charles Wallace’s drive of dragons was a single creature, although Meg was not at all surprised that Charles Wallace had confused this fierce, wild being with dragons. She had the feeling that she never saw all of it at once, and which of all the eyes could she meet? merry eyes, wise eyes, ferocious eyes, kitten eyes, dragon eyes, opening and closing…and wings, wings in constant motion, covering and uncovering the eyes.” – A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle
“It was a curious creature, made like a fish, but covered instead of scales, with feathers of all colours, sparkling like those of a hummingbird. It had fins, not wings, and swam through the air as a fish does through the water. Its head was like the head of a small owl.” “Then the air fish came behind her, and swam on in the front, glittering and sparkling all lovely colors; and she followed. – The Golden Key by George MacDonald
“She was quite the loveliest fairy in the whole world. Her dress was of pearl and dew-drops, and there were flowers round her neck and in her hair, and her face was like the most perfect flower of all. And she came close to the little Rabbit and gathered him up in her arms and kissed him on his velveteen nose that was all damp from crying.” – The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
“As everyone watched, the beautiful wrappings upon the feet of Running Flower turned into slippers made of magnificent blossoms and the forest path that Running Flower ran upon became a thick carpet of the most marvelous pink and white flowers anyone had ever seen before.” – The Legend of the Lady Slipper by Kathy-Jo Wargin
“They reached the end of the passageway and saw before them a brilliantly lit chamber, its ceiling arching high above them. It was full of small, jewel-bright birds, fluttering and tumbling all around the room….They watched the birds soaring overhead, glittering –glittering? …They’re not birds.. .They’re keys!” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Golden Snitch is an enchanted winged ball used in the game of Quidditch. It is a small gold-coloured sphere the size of a walnut, with silver wings. The Golden Snitch acts as a portkey in the fifth book of the series, and though it is not a creature, it does seem to have a personality of its own. In the early history of Quidditch, its role was played by a small little bird called the Golden Snidget. – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
“Set close together, bulging outward, shimmering like vast iridescent opals in the pale candlelight from the room, they made us feel as though we were gazing through a powerful magnifying glass at an ordinary moth’s head. I looked up at the feathery palm-like wands that reared upward from the head and yes, there was no doubt of it, the ends were trembling slightly…” -Doctor Dolittle’s Garden by Hugh Lofting
*The book describes the moth as being red and blue. My lunar moth’s copper mesh can be loosely interpreted as red, and he has blue eye markings on his wings, but otherwise he is a ghostly white color, more similar to the ghost luna moth.
“Pushmi–pullyus are now extinct. That means, there aren’t any more. But long ago, when Doctor Dolittle was alive, there were some of them still left in the deepest jungles of Africa; and even then they were very, very scarce. They had no tail, but a head at each end, and sharp horns on each head. They were very shy and terribly hard to catch.” – The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
*There are no Pushmi Pullyus on this gate, but I was lucky to find a pair of discarded Pushmi-Pullyu shoes. They look like horse-shoes.
This gate was part of the Portals and Passageways Exhibit at Highfield Hall and Gardens during the summer of 2014, and has happily been re-installed for the Summer of 2015. Find it at the top of the steps near the Rhodie Dell.