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  • Writer's pictureWILLIAM HAZEL

Dog Days Belly High


The through of the threshold brought no cold. The unseen comfort curtain hanging between inside and outside gone. Stepping through the front door, the house felt about 90. My estimate was close, the thermostat read 89. It was obvious the conditioning part of the AC was no longer involved. Only summer air through the vents.


It made sense when I accepted it was summer.


Summer is hot. Sometimes, summer in Southern Virginia is hotter. This is one of those summers. And so, these next days, I would agree to be part of this summer. I hadn’t agreed to this until the conditioning had ended.


Darkening the house brought an unexpected quiet. Not a silence, but a quiet. The robin coming and going from her downspout nest. Tiny steps like sun showers. The three voices of chicks. So much to be said in these first days. Cicadas played Bach toccatas. The wrens cantatas. The music kept the TV off.


The lavender scented through the full of the house. The rosemary accompanied, always walking a step or two behind. The neighbor’s newly cut grass had to be worn. Like an old shirt. Fresh but not. The dusk brought a thrift shop musk. Everything heavy and stale from long wet-less hours.


The heat slowed me in ways I needed. In the grace of summer’s pace, the speed of the phone felt unnecessary. There wasn’t need to check the weather, for I knew. And there wasn’t need to check the feed, for I knew this, too.


The end of the sun felt the end of the day. Opening the blinds invited night but not the dark. The neighbors are against the dark. Spotlights, walk lights, back lights, porch lights, inviting the night brought bright. The windows could be open. The blinds not. I don’t remember when we became so against the dark.


The white noise of the fans soothed as meditation. The night’s cooling slow seeping in small degrees. No wall of cold. No comfort curtain. I don’t remember when we became so against sleeping in summer sheets. I slept soundly in these nights in this fabric of the time.


My arrogance comes easily since the technician has gone. A capacitor the catalyst for my rediscovering capacity for feeling the heat. Alas, the droning whine of the backyard unit is keeping me conditioned again. I write in this condition, the outside index stagnant at 111.


But this summer, the condition has changed. The unit off as much as on. The end of the sun brings the end of the day. The summer music playing instead of the devices. The windows open during the nights.


And as these dog days of summer stretch belly high in back cooling clover…


...so do I.








1. Title photo design by Author, from an Xavier Coiffic photo, Unsplash.


© Copyright William Hazel, 2024

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