The roof was not actually leaking, at least not enough that we noticed, but the inspector went crazy photographing the really ugly job of flashing that had been done when it was last roofed, with several shots of each and every dormer. It worried me, and it was irritating every time I glanced up. The gutters were in bad shape, and we did have a leak in the first floor bathroom where an ice dam forms at the dormer above it. The new roof is a thirty-year roof, and someone else can worry about it the next time.
A roof over your head is one of those primal concepts, the metaphor for shelter in the three often-quoted basics of life – food, water, shelter. (For whatever reason, we don’t seem to think of the air that we breathe – except for Phil Everly and the Hollies.) Even those long ago who didn’t build tended to inhabit rock shelters where they could. For half the year, we can open the windows and doors, and the house becomes like a giant pavilion set in the trees up above the valley, keeping off the sun and rain, but letting the air and light in. Even in winter, the house floats above the West Fork, almost in the sky, and the windows let in the ever-changing light. Not only is the new roof beautiful, but we now know that it is sound, that what is under the shingles is sound. I can feel it above us, sheltering everything within.
For days, while there was walking, hammering, stapling, and the occasional huge thump that I finally decided must be bundles of shingles being dropped (rather than a meteorite hitting or a small elephant jumping), the Beatles went through my head, especially when I was meditating:
I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where will it go
I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where will it go