Do Not Fear The Wind
Do you fear the force of the wind,
The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them,
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane.
The palms of your hands will thicken,
The skin of your cheek will tan,
You’ll grow ragged and weary and swarthy,
But you’ll walk like a man!
I woke up with the wind this morning.
It’s scary to wake up at 7 a.m to the sound of a deathly roar outside your window. My window was open about three inches and I could feel a chill swirling up through my pulled blinds. I couldn’t believe the noise and pulled the blinds apart to see a tree on the hill to the art building leaning swaying side to side at fifty-five degree angles. It was as if all of the fury of hills that have been deprived of winter had just broken loose into breathy tantrum fits. I knew it could only get better.
Walking out of art history into the tunnel outside the music building, the wind was almost forceful enough to lean on. It’s that wind that rips all the leaves from the trees, one at a time, but does so with such intensity that air currents conflict, holding them in stillness in the air. They can’t blow forward but they can’t go back, and you think they’ll never move. Then, just as quickly as they were torn away, they are slammed into the pavement and wet grass. The leaves that are already lying broken along the sidewalk are pulled toward warm bodies and thrown back into the air like some sort of malicious confetti. They’re beautiful for a moment, and then they hurl themselves back towards you as you try to force your legs ahead of yourself. Everything is so full of movement, but the only thing really seeming to be alive is the one thing that is not – the wind. the leaves are all detached from their living hosts. The world is dead and swirling around you, the living.
There’s energy in the wind that both instills terror and races the heart with ecstatic joy. It’s the unbridled power that we take for granted – we love the caress of warm breezes of summer and the cool brush of autumn, but we curse the rushing, unhindered terror that can be heavy winds. It’s the same idea, the same potential as the soft breeze but magnified, intensified, uncomfortably strong. Below grey, muddy clouds on the horizon is a sliver of silver, glowing lines and waves that, rather than bring hope of the sun, bring a new fear, a haunting brightness that is broken by the silhouettes of swirling leaves. On a day like today it doesn’t belong there, nor is it wanted. The wind is so exhilarating and strong that you become entranced with it and don’t realize how cold you are until you go inside. Like the hovering leaves, the cold hits you in retrospect almost as if it hadn’t existed until you had the thought.
The funny thing about forces like wind or rain is that once it starts up, we will initially mention its presence. “Boy, sure is windy today” is an exchange at first, and then it just becomes a fact of the day. It becomes, in a sense, normal. We originally feared its presence and then relapsed into comfortable existence of the fact that it’s a windy day. We become worried and scared again when the wind ceases. We return to our initial state and we are frightened, things are changing. After so much exaggerated breeze, the stillness is too quiet, too perfectly frozen. We crave movement, some sign that nothing went wrong. In the same way that a suddenly calm sea after lethal waves appears like glass, stillness after a length of strong wind is a breath in the speech of time – all pauses, all waits, leaves refuse to move. Walking becomes nothing more than propulsion, no longer cutting into the wall of weight that it had been.
I love the wind. I love its rage and its kindness, its bipolar nature. It can carry a sparrow chick down from its nest or lift a petite apple blossom into its path. It can pull houses from their foundations and push rooted trees and walls down into the earth and across miles where they don’t belong. While it is not a living being, it displays and affects more life than other objects or forces in nature. Even when the elements seem to rebel and pull the earth apart at its foundation, they are all under the control of Our Creator. People respect the earth, but that’s not where we should get caught up. We must love our earth, care for it as we can and, most of all, do not fear the wind.