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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Sunday, May 28, 2023
3:05 pm

I want to talk about wind today.

Why? Because it blew into my brain and you can’t ignore a thing like that when it happens.

Funnily enough, I talked incidentally about wind in a bunch of other posts. The trees that grow sideways in Point Reyes on a windy cliff. The wind in Brigantine that turned our umbrella inside out even though it was designed to never turn inside out.


But I never gave wind its own spotlight, so today is the day.

Other than storms, it is not typically windy here. You can go days and weeks without so much as a stir.

But lately its like all the El Niños and La Niñas have come to cavort right in Middle Tennessee.

I like wind, so this is perfectly fine for me. I love listening to it howl around the edges of the building. I love the sound of all the leaves rustling. I love watching tall grass and flowers bend to its call.

I’m even impressed by the things it knocks down, the giant trees that you think have to be stronger than an invisible air current, but somehow they are not. They get literally uprooted, not just broken, but yanked out of the ground in clumps of soil as if by a monstrous cosmic hand.

There is something loose in my apartment building. Maybe it is a dryer or fan vent, I don’t know. Whatever it is, it’s near my bedroom window so whenever it’s windy this loose thing makes a dull thwacking sound. Repeatedly.

You’d think this would be annoying, but on the sliding scale of noise, this one is on the pleasant side. It is not loud or grating, it just thwacks. But mostly it lets me know that Mother Nature is doing her thing.

Wind is such a cool thing, such an impressive thing, such an interesting thing, that it has about 47 words to describe it.

Gust. Gale. Breeze.

It can be brisk. Stormy. Drafty. Billowy.

It can hammer. Blast. Rip. Pierce. Flap. Buffet.

It does things like howl. Roar. Bluster. Blow. Whip. Whisper. Whoosh. Whistle.

It can even sing.

In Brigantine, it would sing me to sleep most nights. It drove Ralph crazy but I missed it when we moved here.

Maybe it heard my wishes and came to visit for a while.

Wind is transformative. It changes entire topographies, not just by blowing things over but by eroding them down. The strongest mountain stands not a chance in a persistent wind.

Since my apartment is on a corner, and the balcony wraps around the side of the building, wind is notorious for blowing things across it. My table is permanently lashed to the railing with zip ties because I have picked it up one too many times. The chairs are another story. They frequently end up on their side, on the opposite end of where they’re supposed to be.

I love watching seagulls ride the wind. They don’t even look like they’re flying, they just surf on the currents and eventually land somewhere to snatch a fish out of the water or eat your french fries.

The harder it bellows the calmer I feel. I’ve spent enough time trying to figure out why this is true that I’m sure I’ll never know. Maybe because it’s louder than the roaring in my brain, or maybe knowing that something out there is bigger and stronger than me is comforting.

You can’t stop it. If if wants your hat, it’s going to get your hat.

Perhaps knowing that, knowing it’s something I don’t have to think about controlling is comforting.

Wind joined us on our wedding day. I remember few things about that day, except for being called to take photos about every six-point-two seconds, but I remember the wind.

It wanted my tiara very, very badly. I needed about four people to hold the billows of my dress so I could make it to and from limo and church and reception.

Wind does not care how much you spent to have your hair perfectly coifed in little tendrils and curls.

Wind does not care if you’re trying to light your cigar, or if you just teed off on a 225-yard hole.

It likes to steal napkins from your picnic. It will knock your plant over if you leave it on the windowsill and laugh all the way to the next open window.

This morning I sat outside on my balcony to write. The wind was breezy going on gusty. It took great joy in flipping the pages of my notebook over, whispering talk about me! I tried, but every time I jotted a few words down it insisted on getting in the middle.

It’s actually quite good at keeping wasps and other interruptive insects away though, so it is forgiven for its mischief.

Wind does nifty things to clouds, too. It makes them scuttle across the sky and turns them into things like whales and giant eyeballs.

It turns lakes into art. And sometimes the tiniest hint of it is a welcome reprieve on a sweltering summer day.

When there is none, we make our own with fans and folded up magazines. Wind does not care whether you wish it would die down or are begging for a mere draft across your brow.

It is what it is and it does what it does, which includes occasionally getting rambunctious and turning into a hurricane or tornado and unleashing its power and fury on the world. But mostly it just flits around playing with curtains and tumbleweeds.

The word for that is capricious and it’s a rather elegant and apt way of describing wind.

According to the National Weather Service, wind is simply air in motion. That is both perfectly accurate and completely misses the point. Wind is a force to be both revered and feared, worshipped and bemoaned.

On any given day, it’s the power by which trees will tap on your windows when they want to have a word with you. It’s nature’s way of filling your yard with colorful leaves in case you were too busy to look up. It scatters dandelion seeds and makes a wish for every one of them to turn into flowers.

You can’t fly a kite or sail a boat without it.

And it sets the world in motion, dancing, swaying, bouncing, rippling, fluttering.

Wind writes poetry.

Whether I’ve sufficiently put it into words, wind will come and go as it pleases, and I will always stop to watch and listen.

Photo: sand on Brigantine beach. Sometimes when the wind blows, it ripples the sand in a way that makes it look like the whole beach is shimmering.