A number of features of our new farm house did not originate with me; like the lancah noi (little roof; Lungpaw’s suggestion); the build out of supplemental structures on the south side (Thip’s idea. I had wanted them on the larger section of the pad to the north, away from the best views); and the tongue and groove porch flooring (Thip)... Our stairs can also be added to this list.
I had had a very unassuming, fully functional and inexpensive stairs designed, originally. But, my wife didn’t like it and wanted to get our head monk’s thoughts on a design. Well, of course, when he came up with something completely different, more expensive and totally outside the symmetry I was trying to create, I wasn’t thrilled. But, I was stuck with it because you don’t ask a monk for their thoughts and ideas on something and then not follow through. Besides, Thip would never go counter to Lungpaw’s advice.
Now that the tred (steps) are in and the stairs are nearly completed, I must bow to Lungpaw Boon Long’s design. It is beautiful and welcoming. Sure, it’s not as cheap or as well protected from the rains as mine would have been, but the beauty and strength of it is impressive.
Through this very long period of Lott and Naht’s building the stairs -- and constantly conferring with Lungpaw in the process -- I’ve learned something very important about stairs. If you’re going to have them at all, they need to be inviting. You have to build them in such a way to cause people to want to climb them, not take them on as a chore. In a way, stairs are portals. They need to be attractive enough so that people will jump through them.
The stairs are not done yet. The other railing needs to go in and the rail posts -- technically called “balluster” -- need to firm up the rails. None of this work is likely to happen any time soon, as it is now rice season and everyone’s out working their farms. Sam Lott is working his family’s land and while he is away, Sam Naht is back to working in the temple.