Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It was a lovely weekend, although it was hard work that made it so. Because of our various schedules and the weather’s unpredictability, we hadn't been able to get together with M to finish work on the Sweat Lodge--and our guys were scheduled to start arriving Sunday evening at 5pm. On a holiday weekend and with everyone expecting the debut of the renovated Lodge, we expected a healthy crowd.

I drove up to New Hampshire on Saturday and Fritz and I went out into the woods and began to do whatever we could with whatever materials were left from the original supply. Fritz shingled the roof exterior while I got inside the Lodge and began to sheathe the eight triangular segments of roof with cedar plank.

M arrived, took stock of the situation, made up a lumber order and soon we were going full tilt. Working just with hand tools, I got three sections of the inside of the octagonal roof finished before we closed up for the evening.

Sunday morning we started early but this time M fired up his generator and chop saw. We seemed to race through the work. M built benches out of cedar, one between two tree trunks and one free-standing. Fritz kept on shingling--his specialty, learned at his businessman father's knee--and I got the final five sections of roof done in three hours. Then we spread three fifty pound bags of sand to make a new floor in the Lodge and we did a big clean-up, finishing just before 1pm. After lunch we went up the hillside to fell trees.

With only Fritz’s chain saw--we only had one lumberjack to help us take down trees in the house site--we didn't get too much cleared before men started arriving--and arriving and arriving-- a final count of 21. Five elected to spend their time in the hot tub with Fritz and the rest of us took the new and improved Sweat Lodge out for a test drive.

It was a huge hit. Lined with new cedar, it smells wonderful. The octagonal skylight was very popular as was the new bench with no more ass-pinching gaps. The steam rose high from the red hot rocks and then came down the back of our necks in a natural convection that felt just great. Heavy insulation in the roof makes an amazing difference. After three or four ladles of water on the stones the basic temperature is reached and the new lodge maintains that temperature seemingly indefinitely. The acoustic is startling—one guy mentioned that it was like a steam bath inside a giant violin. When we chant or sing songs in rounds, there's a warm resonance that’s deep and rich.

M, who designed the entire new scheme, got several rounds of applause, and then suddenly the sweetest gift he could have been given—D, a lovely man M's not so secretly falling in love with, arrived late and slipped in next to him on the bench. You’ve never seen someone so happy. Eventually we all left them alone and headed back to the showers and some play time before a big pot luck dinner.

Monday morning Fritz I got my new mailbox installed. Even though I'm not moving up to Raymond until mid-July, I need to be getting mail there. All I have left to do is fill out the Post Office’s service form and I'll be in business.

My home computer is acting badly these days after an invasion of pop-ups that a couple of programs imported specifically to kill that sort of thing off are controlling but not completely eliminating. I'll try to get some pictures of the new Sweat Lodge posted from work later in the week.

Sounds like a great weekend! I especially enjoyed the bit about the Sweat Lodge. I've always wanted to check one out tied into a spiritual retreat, but have yet to make that happen. Continued luck and experiences of joy with your move and in your life always.
Excellent! Only thing missing was us......I love that sense of community and helping out neighbors and friends. Makes me smile. I can just see all of you guys working so hard. And enjoying the tub too.
a sweat lodge sounds fantastic!
Makes me conjure up ancient Iriquois rituals from long ago.
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