Up on the Roof - Memories from my Childhood

Rooftop. Made with PicsArt by @pauli125art

I love singer/songwriter James Taylor.  His music is so easy to listen to and brings so many images and memories to mind.  One song he sings, Up On the Roof (which I just discovered was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and first performed by The Drifters), takes me back to my childhood - long before it was created. In case you haven't heard the song before I found this great Youtube video for you from Rock in Rio 1985. It's a wonderful listen. There's another of him singing it with Carole King that is also fabulous. 

Childhood was, for the most part, not a happy time for me. I've shared about it a lot, so don't want to go into a lot of detail here.  The basics - I struggled to fit in, struggled to connect and struggled to be who I was expected to be. That pretty much sums it up. I found great solace at times as just being by myself.  Reading, playing quietly, walking. The older I got the more I walked. Miles and miles. It calmed my mind and I found it was so peaceful just being alone with my thoughts. 

I don't want to share all the lyrics, but do feel the opening lines are perfect for the memory it brings :

When this old world starts a getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I'll climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space

On the roof, it's peaceful as can be
And there the world below don't bother me
No, no

Looking out the window by invader-efh on Deviant Art

AHHH!  Here it comes.  A childhood memory of a peaceful moment that I found healing.  We lived in a very old duplex. It was made up of two old fashioned two story houses connected by a center wall, and mirrored perfectly. On the outside of each was a lovely side porch with entrance and a sloping roof. Lucky  me, my bedroom looked right out on the roof of that side porch.  I remember laying in bed and watching lightening slice jaggedly across the sky - perhaps the reason I am madly in love with wild thunder and lightening storms. Other nights I would just star gaze.

One day when I was
 feeling particularly lost and alone, I headed up to my room mid-afternoon and just lay on my bed on my side, staring out the window, lost in thought. Small motes of dust swirled lazily in the rays of sunshine and my focus began to get lost in tiny details. That's when I noticed it - a small rip in the window screen.  My imagination came alive. I wondered if I could make it bigger.

Slowly, gently, and oh so quietly I began to tear the hole in the screen until I could just squeeze through.  Such a guilty pleasure. A secret all mine. I was on the roof and no one else knew. No one else in my family had ever been up there.  I tiptoed quietly around first checking out the view and looking for anything interesting, but there really wasn't much to see.  

Back I went to that side porch roof and sat down. I got lost in the warming rays of the sun, the sound of cars rolling up the street, the touch of the breeze that wafted gently. It was so peaceful. Looking back all I can think to compare it with was the stillness of mind you get during meditation and that didn't happen often for me. My mind was a chaotic place to be most of the time, with the squirrels out having a blast. This was a welcome moment of internal stillness. 

Sadly this was a one time experience. Just as I was getting ready to sneak back in, I noticed a student walking by who looked right at me. This was someone who knew my family and I was sure right they would go home and blab my delicious secret.  Honestly, they were probably right. I was a very young child wandering around on the roof of our home.  Not the safest activity and not one I would have wanted my own kids to do at that age.

By the end of the day, the screen was replaced. Maybe I could have figured out how to take it off intact, but I didn't want to push my luck. I got in enough trouble without repeating an action I was told never to do again. But the power of music is strong, and I can't read those lyrics or listen to that song without being instantly take back to my childhood and that glorious peaceful few hours up on the roof.