I have a new level of hope in my life. Not that I have had any deeply spiritual experiences or read something profound to give me this hope. I haven't seen an inspirational movie or been to a motivational conference. It's much more shallow than that. It's merely circumstantial, but yet it's there. I can't deny it.
Here in Central Texas we have been a prisoner of war, and the war is almost over. It seems that the jail cell of Summer has cracked, and Fall has entered like an unlikely hero. "I'm Luke Skywalker and I'm here to rescue you." And I am like Princes Leah, except with twice the body mass and cooler hair.
This year we smashed the record for the highest number of days above 100 F in a year: a total of 87 days. I'm sure Al Gore is to blame, somehow. The previous record was only 63 days, set back in 1980. It's been oppressive and seemingly unending. It drains hope. But in the last few weeks it has finally cooled off so I've been spending more time outside, buoyed by a new hope.
And what have I been doing outside? Good things.
Today I finished the decking of an overly large, dangerously tall, and questionably safe tree-house in my backyard. I'm embarrassed that it took me this long to get this far - so embarrassed that I am not even going to tell you how long it took. And that's saying something. I like to make fun of myself in an attempt at entertaining you, the reader, but this is a sore subject for me.
At any rate, here are some photos:
[Jono sits on the deck, waiting for adventure. The flag of Quebec flies proudly because... well, because it's the only flag we own that can take the rain. Oh wait, I don't mean rain, I mean the water from my sprinklers, because it hasn't rained in a long time. On the ground you can see my tools and an empty coffee cup, the icon of a good Saturday morning.]
[We haven't built any walls or rails yet, so you have to be cautious near the edges. It's a little spooky.]
[This is the view of my house, ORANGEHOUSE, as seen from the tree-house. It's not really orange anymore. It used to be, but we got a new roof. When we bought the house, the roof was a burnt orange color, just like the bricks and the shutters and the garage door and the trim and every paintable surface. In fact, it looked like someone spray painted the whole house one color, orange, so we called it "Orangehouse".]
[This is what it looks like up on the deck.]
[I used steel cables and turnbuckles to support the frame, just because they're cool. The other ends of the cables are mounted in the trunk of the tree with really big screws, also cool.]
[There is a cool branch that comes up through a cool hole in the floor.]
I have been told that people who live in cold climates get excited when winter finally cracks and spring starts to arrive. In fact, there's a great scene like that in "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe." But for me, it's the reverse. Summer has finally passed. The back of the oppressor has been broken, and new hope has arrived.
What brings you hope?