Saturday, March 12, 2011

Third day of Lent: On the roof

The rain has stopped and the sun has come out. Two men sitting on the steps, talking. When I come back from picking up coffee at Barney’s, Ann Friedman from the Landmarks  Conservancy is there with her roofer, Greg. We check out the water damage in the northeast corner of the sanctuary then head upstairs. 
We go the gym then climb up the ladder into the old Boy Scouts room. There above me is the hatchway onto the roof. I haven’t been out there for at least ten years. Greg goes out first, then  me, then Ann. Greg and Ann are comfortable climbing all over but  I  feel my old acrophobia coming back, like climbing narrow trails up New Mexico mesas. 
The problems are clear. There’s a missing piece of drain pipe above and a clogged drain down below with standing water. And two leaks in the roof above the gym which caused the buckle in the floor below. We see the old skylights covered over and painted during World War II. We had dreamed of opening them up again, but that one is for the far future. We see a door that opens up onto the sanctuary roof from the northwest tower, so we go there. But it will take a ladder to reach the hatch. Not today.
Ann has taken photos.  Greg will come back with a ladder. A proposal will be written up. The work will be done. Ann notices its colder inside than out. Now, what about the boiler? Outside, the men  are gone. A young girl sits reading a book, waiting for the bus.
In the late afternoon, the people from Housing Works come again. Their Director Susie has been here enough she could do the tour herself. This time the President of their board has come, too. Tall, tangy, bearded. Cowboy hat.  We talk about his Texas, Southern Baptist roots. His leaving in the conservative coup that took over the denomination. His then going to Yale, just like me, for Divinity, then later law school. We feel about the same age. The sense of shared  values mirrors that of West-Park and Housing Works. With their combination of thrift shop, social services and activism they’d make a great partner.  

Arcadia comes in to pick up her bag. Tells me she's been glued to the tv watching reports of the tsunami that it Japan all day. And the growing anxiety over what could  come from the compromised nuclear power plants. 
Susie’s not been here before to see the late afternoon sun come through the rose window. It’s almost like honey or caramel. She comments on its warmth. We stand in a circle. Susan and Tom have joined us. Even though they have a lot on their plate right  now, something keeps drawing Housing Works back.  Let’s see what can happen. 
Only Tom is left. We talk about how we might level the floor. I show him the stuck sanctuary door and he agrees to ask Nazim to come over and fix it.  It’s been along, but good day. The word for the day, patience. Patience.

No comments:

Post a Comment