Sunday, July 22, 2012

Walking the Ridgepole

Anne Shirley didn't make it across, probably because either she let the pressure of the dare distract her, or because L.M. Montgomery needed the precocious redhead to wise up and stop exhausting everyone with her hyjinx for a little while, or because the plot needed an exciting event to drive the next chapter.

Anne was trying to walk across the ridgepole of her friend's shed and took a tumble.

The last few days when I've not been working aboard Close Enough, I've been fixing and painting the outside of my house. It costs next to nothing and helps ease that feeling that I'm just backsliding on everything and running the old place into the ground. All my front windows and doors are now filled, sealed and brilliant white instead of looking abandoned.

The most challenging project was to fix up my chimney enclosure. That was a choice between ripping the whole business off and rebuilding- not an option due to money and time constraints- or rehabilitation of what's already there. The problem was that the chimney was finished in something one slight degree more durable than corrugated cardboard. Not very rugged or weatherproof, and boy after 8 or 10 years, the thing looked pretty sorry.

Getting back and forth required climbing up two ladders and traversing the ridge line. At first I crawled and frog-hopped my way across, occasionally being sharply aware of how hot a roof can get on a July afternoon. Since my shoes were much better suited to such contact than my inner thighs, I tried walking across the ridge pole. Gradually it became routine and much more comfortable.

The inner resistance was not actually fear, but entrenched expectations. Fictional redheaded youths are not supposed to walk ridgepoles, much less a 49 year old carrying a bucket of paint, a mortgage and responsibility for 3 kids.

6 months ago I would not have discovered how good my balance is because I was mentally stuck.

Embedded and hence invisible doubts are hard to get past. Unless you're burning your legs on searing hot asphalt, and instead choose to concentrate and enjoy the adventure of the ridgepole walk.

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