Isn't it funny how a smell or a color or another bit of sensory input can transport us back to an earlier place and time?
I might have mentioned that our air conditioner is on the fritz. As in completely kaput and in need of replacement. It's been that way for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, relief in the form of a new unit is on its way later this week. Until then, however, we're rocking the open windows and fans -- ceiling fans, box fans, oscillating fans.
With temps in the 90s and humidity high, the sensation of hot, muggy air takes me back to my grandparents' house when I was growing up. Grandma and Grandpa didn't have air conditioning, so summer days and nights were spent with the windows open and fans blowing.
The adults would often head to the covered back porch to sit and visit. My favorite place to retreat to was my Aunt Molly's room. It was at the end of the hall, just past the holy water font and the bathroom with the peachy pink tile. Molly's room was painted lavender and had two or three rectangular windows positioned on the wall facing the backyard. The windows tilted outward, meaning any breeze would have to maneuver its way underneath the open panes before it could reach me.
I would lie down on the bed -- it was always made -- with the lights off. The gray box fan on the floor would be aimed toward me. I would lie perfectly still, avoiding any movement so as not to generate more body heat, and listen to the grown ups' conversation on the back porch just outside the window.
There was something peaceful about that hot, muggy quiet. The hum of the fan. The chatter of the outside world -- people talking, screen doors slamming shut, leaves rustling with the occasional breeze. The stillness of my own body.
It's a happy memory for me, a memory that is a silver lining 30 years later, when I'm sitting in my own house, wishing for air conditioning.