O Fan!

The new ceiling fan ran in blessed silence for a day. But mid-night it began to make a gentle groan. I grieved the loss of silence. I lay awake listening, and remembered the worst ceiling fan ever.

I had gone on another Carnival retreat. Religious groups in Brazil take advantage of the annual national street party to offer prayerful alternatives for those disinclined to stick around for the mayhem. This group had rented a portion of a convent in a residential neighborhood. It was a chunky modern four story building with a walled garden. My cell was narrow and dark, big enough to hold two dormitory beds, one against each wall, giving the hall door just enough room to open and let us in. A shuttered window and a wooden door led to a small balcony, though mosquitos and thieves provided an excuse for shutting those at dusk and not opening them again til the sun was up.

February is one of the hottest months in Brazil. Temperatures hit 100 or more with frequency, and evening downpours may provide some temporary relief, but also keep the humidity up. I was overjoyed to see that the room had a ceiling fan. I turned it on.

Kerchunkadunkadunkadunk kerchunkadunkadunkathunk kerchunkadunkamunkablunk.

It was a rather loathsome retreat for other reasons, but the fan was the icing on the cake. The first bird to sing each morning received a whole heaping heartful of gratitude and joy.