From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that-a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them.Late yesterday afternoon the children and I were sitting quietly in the living room with the curtains drawn and the lights off barely moving a muscle and I thought about Absalom, Absalom! and how that sentence captured a moment, even for us. We had better sense than to sit where the sun was shining, but keeping the lights off and windows and shades closed did make it seem cooler whether it was just a feeling or truly was. When I first read this book, I felt as I suspect Faulkner intended us to feel, that this scene captured Miss Colfield unquestioningly trapped in the confines of the past and all the traditions it held (and perhaps I, too, am trapped), but the longer I live in this old house, the more I see the wisdom of some of those old ways.
We have air conditioning in other parts of the house. Why everyone was sitting in the living room I just can't tell you, but the natural rhythms of the day and house made it warm, but not completely unpleasant, even with the dangerous heat and humidity. We open the house at night, allowing the cooler night air to enter, then we close the doors and windows as the day warms. When I cook or use the computer, we need the air conditioning late in the day, but in the parts of the house where heating apparatuses are not used the conditions are hot but bearable, though they may be responsible for diversions of literary reverie.