Praestigiare

Iteration III

At the Intersection of 4 and D

October 2, 2009

It was difficult to get onto the roof, and more than a little dangerous. You had to stand on the shaky railing, already more than twenty feet from the ground, and then jump up, pull, and push, using the same motion as pulling yourself out of a pool. Each time I did it there was a moment, after the jump and pull but before the push, when I was sure I was going to fall backwards. It was a wonderful weak-kneed and giddy feeling.

The roof was covered with asphalt shingles, rough and sandpapery and offering good traction to bare feet despite the steep incline. Directly in the center was a chimney. Or what looked like a chimney until you got up close. In fact it was more like a platform, covered over with plywood and tar paper. It did not relate to any structure in the house, and there was no fireplace inside. As an observation platform, though, it was unmatched in all of Hawaiian Acres.

Standing on the chimney you could see the old abandoned shed off in the jungle where my brothers and I had found glass bottles of pesticides and strange mechanical implements. You could see the small muddy pond we discovered about a quarter mile from the house while building trails, and the tree beside it that we had used as our landmark and our refuge from wild pigs. In the other direction you could see the guava tree groves, bent down like Frost’s birches, and for the same reason. And beyond those the treetop forts, connected by poles run from tree to tree.

I do not know if you can ever feel quite as satisfied as a twelve year old boy perched high above his empire.