Almost there

Old nails

Old nails

wrote about my basement project a few days ago.  I was optimistically thinking I might get the floor in this weekend, but I knew a significant amount of work remained to be done, such as tearing out the old floor.  Lo and behold, Sherry attacked those old floor boards with a crow bar and a sledge hammer, getting them up off the ground and into a pile for me to take out to the garbage scow trailer.

Which is what I did tonight.  Underneath the floor boards were 2x4s that were, at one time, the solid underpinnings of the boards themselves. Today as I removed them they were little more than sawdust in places, having been in place against the dirt for about 110 years.

The nails were not of this time, either.  The heads were square, as were their bodies.  They showed no signs of weakening, and a better man could have pulled them all out, straightened them out and used them again.  I am more sensible than that, however, and they remained in the boards that are now in the garbage scow trailer.

This deconstruction / reconstruction thing is a thought provoking endeavor.  Those boards were the parts upon which everything was held, the very foundation of the floor.  They were not treated, or made of cedar, or anything like that that would have helped preserve them. They were just boards laying on the dirt.  The years were not kind to them, and I am certain that water got into that room at one point and accelerated their deterioration.  Today when I picked them up off the dirt, even though they gave the appearance of being solid, they crumbled apart, offering no support whatsoever.

The only thing holding the framework of these boards together were the nails.  Nails forged perhaps by a blacksmith, or made in a factory back east manned by immigrants, were still able to complete the task they had been assigned so long ago.

We have been warned against building a house on a foundation of sand.  While our house was built on stone and sits solidly upon the earth, the floor in this room was not.  If our lives are built on the shifting sands of instant gratification that is our modern culture, they become like the wood on my floor and crumble at the first challenge to their stability.  If our lives are forged together with the iron of faith, nothing can make them come apart.

My intention is to build a strong foundation for the new floor.  I hope that, a hundred years from now, the owner of this house never has to think about replacing the floor.

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