It took a whole month to build the roof. There were two mistakes before it was finally finished, but it was done perfectly in the end. Of course, our wood wasn’t a matte color since we had used common wood, so it didn’t have that majestic Tang Dynasty feel to it. As a result, I felt that it was somewhat lacking in style.
I never thought that the impression left by the wood’s color would make that much of a difference. The ancients had deeply considered aesthetics when choosing wood, but it seemed that I had been too hasty when making my own choice.
After the two caissons were put back together, one was placed in the small pavilion we had built in the yard while the other was placed in the living room. They were very elegant and seemed to exude an amazing aura.
After the whole house was finished, it wasn’t as big as I thought it would be, but the layout was still particularly good. We planted some ivy outside, so by the time autumn came, it would feel more like we were living in an elegant house in the mountains.
After that, we paved the road, tidied up the courtyard, and transplanted the two big trees.
I also asked some students from the Department of Landscape Architecture to help me move the big trees to the yard. Placing the trees deeper into the ground would help make the house more hidden.
After that, we dealt with the non-fixture items. It took us about two months of moving things back and forth before it was finally almost complete.
By this time, Xilaimian had become a huge botanical garden with various stone statues that Fatty’s friends had shipped from Datong, Shanxi. When I looked at them lined up one by one among the plants and covered in a layer of moss, I couldn’t help thinking that they were ancient. Our food hadn’t changed, but the whole atmosphere looked very casual and relaxed now. I sat in the restaurant and looked outside, feeling as if I were in the tropics. When the sun was shining brightly, the courtyard felt particularly good.
The courtyard of our house had been connected to Xilaimian’s courtyard in such a way that we could see our house and the big trees in front of it through the various plants, small stone statues, and bamboo forest.
We didn’t end up building a wall, but with the exception of a few lost tourists, few people passed through the bamboo forest anyways. It seemed as if it acted as a natural barrier separating the inside from the outside.
I didn’t really expect to finish this project and it took longer than I originally planned, so my emotions at the end were very complicated.
The back of the mountain was right behind the house, so we had a direct path to Rain Village. Of course, we’d still have some difficulty walking there.
I did design bedrooms for us in the small house, but we still hid in our Rain Village house most of the time. More and more old wine and old objects were placed there, and the longer I stayed, the more I didn’t want to leave.
Plus, that house could be used as a guest house when friends came to visit. It had a very spacious dining area so it wouldn’t be too cramped, and Fatty had placed a stove in the middle to keep the room warm. It was also surrounded by comfortable sofas, tables, and chairs. I had my own study where I could examine rubbings and literature on the Zhang family. I finally managed to sort the information out volume by volume and then asked some friends from a publishing house to print them into books so that I could put them on a bookshelf. There was so much information that it could fill up a whole wall.
But the house was still relatively empty because we didn’t have too many worldly possessions to fill the place up.
The space was really small, but my study had a very substantial pile of Zhang family literature and rubbings, plus materials and manuscripts of various ancient buildings that I had researched. My study also had a small window with a clear view of the big trees outside. We didn’t end up building Poker-Face a tree house, but he did sometimes lie on one of the trees, just as I had expected.
I could also see Fatty sunbathing naked on the balcony. The three of us could see each other from our positions, the distance so close that one of us could toss a piece of bread over to the other two and have them catch it.
It felt pretty wonderful.
The autumn leaves were falling and many landed on the roof. I had seen many dilapidated old buildings in the deep mountains and forests whose roofs had caved in from the years of fallen leaves, but I always thought that they were beautiful. It almost seemed as if I was living deep in the mountains myself, so my heart felt very calm.
When it came to all of the adventures and mysteries I was interested in, I seemed to prefer recording them and putting them on the bookshelf now instead of trying them out myself.