When Peter and the students left last week, I was crestfallen. Though I was excited about the huge progress we'd made, my enthusiasm was deeply underscored with a bitter cocktail of exhaustion and gnawing concern about the work that remained. Instead of a roof in need of decking, we had twenty six untouched rafters and weeks of unplanned labor with which to contend.
I'm rarely deterred by the prospect of large projects, but my ego was having a field day with me on this one. The reality before me didn't match the story I'd been telling myself for the last five months, and it was furious. Lurking around every corner of my mind was a new outrage: these rafters are too heavy! We don't know anything about building roofs! The grindbygg is going to collapse into a heap of rotted wood because it will be unprotected from the elements! You fool, why do you even try?!
In spite of my mind's incessant complaining, Tara and I soldiered on, debarking the red pine timbers and using the jigs Peter left for us, finishing a tenon here, a mortise there. Slowly chipping away at our pile of rafters, we vacillated continuously between a sense of self-assured confidence and feelings of complete hopelessness. Any time we were uncertain of something, we called Peter and he happily answered our questions.
...and then, when it felt like the work could go on for the rest of our miserable lives, it came time to raise the first rafter. Somehow, the two of us managed to heave a pair of them ten and a half feet up to the roof line. The moment those 18' foot timbers slid into their rafter seats, they floated in perfect balance. As the tenon and mortise glided together, two weeks of loathing and despair were instantly transformed into pure triumph.
Suddenly, the endless pile of impossible rafters seemed a little smaller and more manageable. Suddenly, we could do this. We are doing this.