Inside or Outside

The historic Warm Springs district in Boise has a plethora of beautiful, ornate gates and doors that we admire on our daily walks, but my favorites are the well-worn, rustic ones that look like they belong in a Hobbit shire. Seeing them reminds me of a song we used to sing when I was growing up:


One door and only one
And yet its sides are two
Inside and outside
On which side are you?


Do you feel like you’re on the inside or the outside?


56 thoughts on “Inside or Outside

  1. Hi Laurie

    Depends very much on context.

    At many levels, I am happy being on the inside, determining who comes in, and when I venture out.

    At other levels I am outside, trying to find the key to get in.

    All life seems to require semi-permeable boundaries and different levels, letting some things in and out, while keeping other things in or out.
    At every different level, what distinguishes us from the environment around us is the way we uptake some things and keep others out.

    So yeah – doors are important – any which way.

  2. Do I feel I’m on the inside or the outside? Well, I want to be on the unlocked side, the side that provides access, freedom. Like Ted, I agree the answer to your question depends on context. And yes, I do remember this simple song from Sunday School days.

    You are developing quite a repertoire here about the city of Boise. I can imagine a bound volume with the photos and text of your posts. Why even the Chamber of Commerce may be interested.

    • Marian — I like your perspective of being on the Unlocked side; the side that provides access and freedom. [I also like your idea of approaching Boise’s Chamber of Commerce and pitching them a bound volume of photos/text — you smart cookie, you] 🙂

  3. I agree it depends on what we’re talking about. Sometimes there might not be much difference, it’s only the perspective that’s different.

  4. i would like to think that I’m sometimes on the inside looking out, but I’m afraid the opposite is generally as prevalent. We learn from experience to cite an oft-used cliche. Varying perspectives are vital in this life experience.

    • Sam — You’re are oh-so-right when you say, “…varying perspectives are vital in this life experience.” [I’ll be heading over to Wonders in the Dark shortly. I’m looking forward to hearing how your knee therapy is coming along]…

  5. My gate is unlocked, shall remain so, and opens both directions. Ofttimes I am on the inside, enjoying the quiet, peaceful solitude, but I venture to the outside to join the world when I choose to.

  6. Most of these lovely old doors are better on the outside, so when it comes to appreciating their beauty, that’s where I want to be. Arrested while on a walk. Your posts almost always make me feel that way.

    I like the outsider position metaphorically also. Although whether I am inside or outside, I like the edge. 🙂

  7. Ah yes, great question Laurie! Like Jeff I tend to go through doors without much fuss. My only surprise is when they are unexpectedly locked. Having lived in the middle of nowhere much if my life, a locked door is always a bit of a curiosity. In big captital letters my unedited first thought is NOW WHY WOULD SOMEONE LOCK THIS DOOR? If the door is locked it is my first clue that something is up and is out of the ordinary. So I try the back door then all the windows 😉

  8. Are these comments ever relevant to what I’ve been experiencing lately. I think we are masters of our life, as much as we can be and doors and gates don’t always have to be impediments. Sometimes these doors are so-called friends who think they know what’s best for us.

    As for the photos, I’m just enjoying the architecture of them, the perfection. But then I’m a sucker for old structures with class.

    • Sharon — You’re absolutely correct in that doors and gates don’t have to be impediments (they can be gateways to new experiences and opportunities). And I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos, thank you for letting me know 🙂

  9. Part of the old tape that runs in my head is that I am outside. In fact, I’ve heard the message so much that it has lost its sting. It lost its sting and I began to pride myself on being on the outside, even when I was invited, encouraged and shoved inside.
    Now I’d like to throw the door open wide.
    What if there was no inside or outside? What if we were all on the same side?

  10. Love the first door!!

    I prefer to be on the outside. Most times being on the inside I feel trapped, pressed for air. I think my inner restlessness calls to me when I am on the inside too long and my need to feel the earth, smell the air and be one with myself and nature is the only place I can truly relax.

    Another great post! Tina

  11. I love the doors, Laurie. Such interesting photos.

    Inside or outside? I think, as others above have said, it depends on the context.
    I think I’m often an observer. Does that mean I’m outside looking in, or am I gazing out the window?

    Other times, like when I’m with my family or close friends, I’m an insider, whether we’re actually inside or outside.

    Imagination–and books–let us be inside and outside without moving.

  12. Laurie, tough question and yet very simple…whether I am in or out, I’ll be looking to get on the other side sooner or later. With one big exception, in 95 degree heat I want to stay inside with the Air Conditioning! Charming photographs!

  13. An idea of when I feel on the Inside…when I am inside the space where I live it is my sanctuary, my have…so yes I am inside. However, now that I live in Greenville SC, even when I am out and about I feel AT HOME here so yes I am inside the space of this city.

  14. I have been drawn to the symbolism of doors as thresholds. Usually this symbolism is connected to crossing in (myths and stories often portend some danger in the crossing). However crossing over to go out equally possible. Doors as a transition passage.
    There are so many stories, poems, quotes about doors and related associations. I wonder if there there isn’t some deep (what is the Jungian term ) connection to door as symbol?
    Doors also cam provide safety; keeping out the danger.
    I haven’t though about this for some time Laurie … thanks for resurfacing this. AD

  15. I ‘m with you on doors Laurie , there is something fascinating about them . Maybe it’s to do with childhood books so many of our classics involve doors . Have you ever been to Venice? They have amazing doors , most of which are dropping off, but that’s the appeal .
    Although I have always felt on the outside looking in ( I’m a bit on the potty side you must have noticed) I feel happier on the inside looking out …you see a lot more that way .

  16. That’s a loaded question Laurie! In terms of my daily walk and the path I have chose to follow I am on the inside of the door. But when it comes to walking that path out in the world I often feel like an outsider. I just go about my life trying to follow the path the best I can, trying to live by example rather than pushing my beliefs on others and it usually works. But I am still often an outsider. Choosing to be different is not always easy.

  17. I remember that song as well, Laurie! I think for the most part I am as “in” as I want to be, but sometimes I sure do choose to be on the outside. I like the idea of being inside the gates, which often means I’m on the outside of other activity. I enjoyed thinking about this, Laurie. 🙂

  18. I like to feel I have the key to the door…that way whether I feel I am on the inside or the outside at any given time I have the choice as to whether I stay on the current side or step in/out to the other 🙂 Doors are cropping have been cropping up a lot recently! Both in blogs in a variety of contexts – all very interesting I must add! I myself have been dreaming weird and wonderful dreams involving doors to other times and places, and have also been thinking much about doors to other dimensions…something I have touched in a sci-fi post or two along the way 🙂 Just the other day I tripped over a quote regarding doorways and stepping through them…on my computer whilst sorting out the hard drive and clearing out a billion duplicate files! I intend to use it hopefully in the near future as part of a continuing sci fi post and I thought it was lost to me! So you see…doors! They are opening everywhere of late!! 🙂

  19. Beautiful photos and words. Reminds me of a Cat Stevens lyric from the song, “Sitting.”

    “Oh, life is like a maze of doors and they all open from the side you’re on…” Following.

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