A Hole in the Ceiling

Jacob dreamed of a ladder that stretched from earth to heaven. I’ve been dreaming of a spiral staircase that goes from the main floor to the attic.

Years ago, I told my husband that some day I’d love a little room in the attic above the main part of our house. That wouldn’t be worth the work, he said. “Inefficient, costly.” Over the years, we’ve made compromises. Brad wanted ten acres. I talked him into one. I asked for a simple, four-sided deck. He built an octagon. Now he’s planning to make three rooms in the attic.

Last spring, he built a dormer window above our dining room. The dormer creates a space for the staircase to land. Then last weekend, he climbed a ladder with a power saw in his hand, and he cut a hole in the ceiling. I held a damp towel over my face that evening as I vacuumed the sawdust. I vacuumed the furniture, I vacuumed the floor, I vacuumed the air. And when more dust had settled, I vacuumed again. I hated the mess. Making a way to connect what’s up to what’s down is a lot of work. It’s inefficient. It’s expensive. It’s Jacob’s ladder. It’s love.

The morning after Brad cut the hole, I walked into the dining room and glory shone around. Light poured through the dormer window and into the hole, down to the table, down to the floor. I didn’t see angels, but I stood in wonder just the same. Oh, the light. Oh, that beautiful near-solstice light. When I first asked for a staircase, I hadn’t considered the light. Until I saw its beams pressing down on the table, I didn’t know we needed more light in our home.

We’ve ordered the staircase. Some good folks at a company in New England are building it. They’ll deliver it in pieces, then we’ll put it together. They say it will be here by Christmas.