The wind blew through the tops of the trees and arrived at the door.
But the door would not open. Its thick boards were made of a weather-hardened oak that had grown to full maturity before falling in a great storm, one hundred years before. That oak had sworn never to give in to wind again.
The wind piled up in thick ripples all along the skin of the door, pressing and pressing against the wood. Please, let me in, please door, please oak, please wood, let me in!
The door stood fast, though it remembered the power of a storm that felled its tree quite well, remembered the horrific pull and lift and surge and the momentary sensation of flying through stars.
The wind tried softness. It tried stroking the grain, gentle as a butterfly’s wings. It tried tickling, small fingers under the rough splinters. It tried kisses from one end to the other of the tall old boards.
Nothing worked. The door would not give.
The storm wrapped itself around the little house and shook it with fury. You will open! and sent its voice through the cracks and into the very pores of the wood.
The door remembered being an oak, being felled, thick roots upended, broken like string. The door remembered a wind it could not resist, a wind that took advantage of full summer, the heavy canopy of green leaves, the dry earth that could not hold on. No, said the door. Not again.
The wind blew and screamed, battered the door with fists and knees and feet and even its own stubborn head, but though the door creaked and sighed, it did not give way.
In the morning, the wind was gone, exhausted, into the North. It had swept the leaves around the little house clear, revealed bare ground. Out of the moist earth crept little green shoots, the spear-points of crocuses and daffodils.
Inside the house, a woman rose from her solitary bed and stretched out her hand to the handle of that old door, the door that remembered being an oak tree, that remembered being felled. The door held fast for a moment, still swollen with fear and anger. Then it released, and swung open.
The woman stood in cold sunlight and said a prayer of thanks to doors, to oaks, to survivors of storms.