On the way out to do zazen yesterday, I noticed that the gutter was overflowing with twigs and leaves -- the collected droppings of the nearby environment. It had piled up. The gutter was useless. And more, with winter on the way, there was a threat that ice might build up under the shingles and send leaking water inside.
So after zazen, I pulled out a short extension ladder, climbed up and pulled out clods and clumps of collected flora. There were even some worms embedded in the rot-rich soil that formed the deepest layer of gunk.
And as I stood on the ladder, I had a chance to survey the roof. What I had put on as spanky-fresh red tar paper shingles in 1998 -- and what had been promised as a 20-plus year shingle -- was now fraying and cracked. I remembered the newness and then faced the facts of the present. The roof wasn't yet a disaster and it would probably last another winter, but ... but ... where did all that newness go? In my mind the shingles were still crisply delineated and pliable and smelled brand new.
Funny how what you see happening in the mirror happens everywhere all the time and the mirror you look in doesn't just reflect your phiz or mine.
The mirror is everywhere, despite all insistent recollection.
Over time, even the surprise tends to fray.
But as human beings can bemoan the onset of age in part because of some eternally youthful and spry something-or-other within, so the roof will probably sustain another winter. It'll do and what will do will do.