Do you know wind?
When your wee little house has thin, thin walls, you know wind.
A few months after Sylvia was born, some door-to-door salespeople knocked on my door, peddling home air-quality testing.
I had to laugh.
Whatever the air quality outside my home is, I guarantee it is the same inside. And since that air is coming directly off the brisk North Atlantic, I don’t have too many concerns about pollutants, smog or other air contaminants.
While wind is a given whenever you step outside, it’s also a constant companion indoors.
Our walls are thin, so we’re closer to the elements than you are. Our house is somewhat more substantial than a tent, albeit slightly less watertight. (I only wish I were kidding.)
On breezy days, I can feel the wind through the walls anywhere in the house. I can hold my hand a few inches from the wall and feel the cool currents of air seeping through the siding, insulation, drywall, plaster and paint. Four inches is all that separates us from the brunt of it.
I can tell the wind is picking up by how hot the fire is burning, and how frequently the blower cuts in to cool the woodstove down.
During Hurricane Igor, I watched the wind blow a bookshelf several inches off the wall. It swayed back and forth, directly above where Sylvia used to nap and crawl… (The shelf was anchored to the wall as soon as the power came back on long enough to charge the electric drill).
If you wonder what the rolled up blankets under the furniture are there for, it’s to stop the draught that sneaks up through the floorboards.
On nights like these, the walls shudder against the wind as you watch the clock: 2… 3… 4… 4:56 a.m.
When I lived in Toulouse, wind from the south-east was called Le Vent d’Autan. It was said to drive people crazy.
I get that.