Friday, December 4, 2009
On the Catwalk
Spent some time up top this week.
Hanging the Christmas wreath was on the list of 39 things I signed off on to do when chosen to be the new keeper. I certainly had seen it done and had the good sense to buy the wreath early in the hope of good weather giving me an easy time to put it up.
The process began last Saturday morning. The wind was down at 8:00 am and I got the ropes out to rig the wreath, laying them out in the yard and measuring out where I thought I wanted the wreath to fall against the tower. Having tied some knots to hold those measurements, I went up top, got the door to the catwalk open, creeped out there, dropped the ropes, and pulled the wreath up top. Gloves were a must; I found out the hard way by not having them on as the big green circle of pines made the trip up.
There were two causes for caution while out on the catwalk. First, the wind had picked up in the half hour or so I had been working. That brought the temperature down some and made the gloves even more necessary. (I had come down to get them) The second cause was that the catwalk is metal. I have only been out there a few times and each time in summer when the metal was warmer and seemed to have more texture. In the cold it seemed a little slick.
I got the wreath strung along the lines I had laid out while in the yard. A cord wrapped and knotted at the top, call it at 11 and 1 on the clock face, and then looped and tied again at the bottom at 7 and 5. I weighted the ends of the line and dropped them over to tie off at the bottom. There was a hang up with one that slowed me down a bit, but by five after 9 I had it up. One more trip up top let me adjust one of the top cords to center the wreath, another somewhat daunting trip on the catwalk as I found out that there is a pitch on the parking lot side; slight but real or at least an optical illusion that makes leaning down to adjust a knot on that side a more interesting (euphemism for shaky legged)task.
Thursday was very windy here on Cedar Point. Gusts over 50 miles per hour greeted me in the morning, knocking my glasses off of my head and blowing them down the driveway before I got in the car to go to work. A check on the wreath showed that it had taken a beating over night in the wind. The bow was gone and the lines I had set had become tangled with the flagpole line that climbs the tower. I came home that afternoon, consulted with David Ball, and headed back up to clean up the mess.
The wreath had not been set tight against the tower. I had set the lines inside the posts that rise from the catwalk rather than set them outside and that had allowed the wreath to spin and to tangle. Just as I had unwound all the ropes Dave came along to coach me through the last few steps. Though it was a little windy up on top, carrying off every third word Dave sent up, it was warmer and moving on the walk was easier. At least I was more confident while the adjustments were made left and right. My thanks to David.
So as of Saturday December 5,2009 the Christmas wreath is properly installed on Old Scituate Light. Flying Santa will be here next weekend and it will be my honor to welcome him to the Point. One of the very first posts on this blog included the pictures from Flying Santa's visit last December.
You might describe the year like I just described the trips to the catwalk, tentative and instructive at first, increasingly confident as time has past. We have learned a ton, made mistakes and cleaned up after them, gotten more right than wrong when it was all said and done. Christmas in this cottage is going to be great.