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Gristmill: Blowing Cold

Wed, 09/27/2023 - 17:51
It was a long, hot summer for furred creatures.
Baylis Greene

Never in the course of human history have so many hot days given way so swiftly to a darkling few in the cold and damp of a receding September.

Was it not just a week ago that I trained a box fan from a box store on the splayed-out family dog? The panting beast wasn't comfortable all summer. Now, in suddenly chill autumn, he's happy as a pig in mess, sleeping peacefully, if annoyingly, on the bed, perkily trotting on walks up the street, as voracious for human food as ever, his piercing bark carrying as never before.

About that box fan. Arctic Wind, some corporate wit branded it. It was a gift from my son's girlfriend — for him, for his new college dorm room (which it turned out had a window A/C unit), certainly not for me, not even for poor Duster — and yet I thanked God for it, when, er, I suppose I should have thanked her?

Be that as it may, it brought back some of my earliest memories of a childhood in a tumbledown 19th-century pile of shingles on Sag Harbor's Green Street, second-to-last house on the left as you head down that dead end toward the cove, where before yet another of those, you know, 1970s divorces we always had a box fan going in summertime. 

Its sky-blue metal and helicopter hum has been replaced by the gentle susurration of white plastic, but still, the mere presence of the cheap, late-model job was oddly reassuring for weeks on end this summer.

And just like that, it's in the basement.

Now it's Monday night and I've broken down and removed the 14-inch sliding window screens from the living room windows. There's the sense of an ending. 

The outdoor shower, though, that's another story. It may be a drizzly 60 degrees, but one more month is all I ask.  

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