My favorite hotel room in Italy could have earned that spot without the full shower spacious enough for hang-drying our dinner dresses. It would have ranked even without the mini-fridge for storing my breakfast cannoli with the candied orange peel.
The view alone would have sealed the deal.
Cousin Kristin and I knew we were in heaven on top of heaven when St. Mark’s Campanile greeted us through the skylight. We saw the tower, we heard the bells: we were in Venice.
Today, it was dreary and drizzly when I made my daily visit to our house–but light was coming in. Our cathedral ceiling collected much of what shone through, basking in it, finally. The drought was over: light poured through the new rectangle. Steve and Seth were framing the top-of-the-wall window I’ve dreamed of since I first sat in that sun-starved living room! One day, one day. When we had money, we would have light.
It’s funny now, but to cut a new window out of a wall just seemed so big. Even when we replaced the siding and windows in 2009, we decided not to spend the extra money on such an extravagance.
A friend who had to rebuild a level of her split level tells me how before Sandy, the job of extending her air conditioning, which involved breaking into the bedroom wall, sheetrocking that section, and painting the room, had seemed positively mountainous. When we recount our tales of destruction and tally our costs, we laugh over that.
Now that Seth and the Steves are ripping out rotten boards, it just makes sense to replace a couple with glass, doesn’t it? So an opening was carved today, and through it beckons our own bell tower, calling us home.
For eleven years, our inner clocks were set to the bells of the church on the corner. When we didn’t hear them on a Saturday or Sunday morning, Lucy would. I swear our dog learned to count to nine. She didn’t wake us at seven, or eight, or ten. When those bells rang the nine o’clock hour, it was time for the day. You might try to suggest, “She knew by the light. Or she knew by your sleeping patterns.” But no. Because we might go to bed as early as eleven or as late as two. And because Daylight Savings Time did not throw her off. And it was always precisely 9:00—or on a rainy, uninspiring day, 9:01—that she shook her own little tag bells on her collar to be sure we would not have the nerve to snooze. The light is different every day; the church bells, reassuringly, would ring without change. Except on Christmas Day, when they chime a carol. Each Christmas Eve I would crack the window in anticipation of awakening in the morning to Joy to the World. And I will again.
Standing in our new loft now, looking across, I have a view of the brick belfry. I never imagined I’d actually be able to stand on level with and see out my hoped-for high window. It is difficult to fathom what will be in view beyond the tower when the house is raised an entire story. A sliver of ocean? A swath of ocean? An expanse? Like in our little Venetian hotel room, there will be many features in our new space that make daily living a pleasure. A wood burning stove, a linen closet, a shower fixture that sprays stubborn knots right out of my back. But the view alone would seal the deal. We will see the tower. We will hear the bells. We will be home.