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The Back Door


It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I heard the back garden (yard) referred to as ‘the back door’. I think that it’s a Scottish way of referring to all that lies beyond that well-worn port-hole. Of course, growing up in Canada, I had no end of space to play in the often large garden that surrounded whatever house we happened to be living in. It was a place of tree-climbing, soup-making, baseball playing, and imaginary adventuring. I walked through that oft-used door into a land of my own. I could be whoever I wanted to be there.

View of part of the garden at Queen Street (Mrs Clark's allotment)

Moving to the United Kingdom has given me a whole different perspective on space. The ‘back door’ may only be as big as a large picnic blanket, but it is still a place for adventurous children to invent their games of make-believe.

Aria, acting out the story of a princess- Queen St 2009

In the warmer months, our ‘port-hole’ is constantly open as the children’s adventures spill out into the back garden. They need very little to keep them happy!

Our pocket sized 'back door' in Maldon- spring 2010

For myself, the back door is many things. It is a place for the children to play without making a mess of our tiny house. It is a place for me to hang our freshly washed laundry, bringing it in at the end of the day smelling like the sweetest ambrosia—well, I think so at least! I have to bury my face into it and drink in the smell to fully appreciate the good in so much folding of little people’s clothes. And lately, it has been a place of rest that takes me away from the ever-marching clock and never-ending chores—a place where I can breathe deeply and appreciate the restoring function of the nature growing just beyond our pocket-sized ‘garden’. More on that later…:-)

Aria playing with the wind-blown pajamas drying on the clothesline. Kerr St- Autumn 2007

7 Responses to “The Back Door”

  1. Beth Goff
    May 17th, 2011 16:01

    Hi Rachee,

    It’s always nice to read your posts. I remember when you kids were little how much you loved the back yard or ‘back door’….in spring, summer, fall or winter….always was a place to play…but especially summer. I love seeing the pictures of your little ones in the yard….so good to get outside….for both them and you….kinda clears the mind of clutter doesn’t it.
    Love, Mum

  2. Rachel
    May 18th, 2011 14:52

    Yes, it does have a way of de-cluttering the mind as all the housework is invisible when I go through into the back garden! x

  3. Rebekah Haché
    May 20th, 2011 15:59

    Growing up, our backyard was magical! The house we lived in when I was quite young (until age 4)was large even had an overgrown section in the back. We kids knew this area as “Jungle Camp” – full of mystery and surprise! The house I lived in the rest of my childhood had a spacious enough area, full of amusements my dad made, wooden play house, rope swing in the Redwood tree and a very high up tree fort, nestled in a cluster of trees…I can’t even count the hours we were out there!

    Now raising my kids in a townhouse, where the outside is all “shared”, no separate backyards, or front for that matter. But we are in an end unit and our kids have the run of the place (our little area at least) – I am very grateful for what we have, and I know our kids enter a imaginary world out there!

  4. Jessica
    May 20th, 2011 16:32

    lovely! so nice to read your writings again.

  5. Rachel
    May 23rd, 2011 14:29

    Thanks for sharing, Bekah! I love how each of us has different experiences but that they are somehow linked— if only in that children excel at being inventive! Your backyard sounds like it was amazing!
    And thanks for the comment, Jess. Hope you get to visit my ‘back door’ soon:-).

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