Through the dew-wet grass to the site I went before 6 a.m., just to stand on the subfloor with the trusses, which were all pegged together and waiting. The sun was just clearing the trees on the edge of the marsh, its warm and low-angled light playing on the edges of the great beams and posts.
Soon the crane truck would lumber down the road, the barefooted crew from Greens Island would arrive and begin. Friends would come and we’d throw a sheet of plywood on the sawhorses, and spread out the food. The house we’d planned for years would take shape at the edge of the marsh, on the shore of Hurricane Sound.
Ahead were months of finishing the house with son and godson. There would be an evening around the woodstove with the first snowstorm roaring outside. Later, a summer day with our daughter and her bridesmaids doing hair and makeup in the still unfinished rooms on the morning of her wedding.
But what I remember most was the stillness and promise of that morning before the raising began.
Joe Upton’s 1986 book Amaretto was republished in 2015 as Herring Nights: Remembering a Lost Fishery, by Tilbury House. He lives in Bainbridge Island, WA, and on Vinalhaven.