Tag Archives: Wind

Endings and Beginnings at Midnight: Everyday Magic, Day 906

It is 12:04 a.m., and I”m writing this from our back deck where I sit cross-legged in a chair and stare up at two enormous trees. The wind pours wave after wave through the tree to my right, Cottonwood Mel, and the moon rises through the the branches and thick leaves of the tree to my left.

I should be sleeping perhaps, but instead, I’m letting the wind bathe me free and watching the stars above and the lightning bugs below. It’s a time of big endings and beginnings for me, and the confluence of all, plus some misguided coffee in the afternoon, has landed me here, telling the field how much I love it, letting this land know how much it has healed and held me over many years.

Tonight, I had my last governing meeting for an organization I’ve been involved in deeply for 13 years, now on solid ground and blossoming, and me having realized close to a year ago that it was time to step off and make greater space for others. Following the Curve, a book of poems is at the publisher, another — one based on this very blog — is being proof-read, and my novel Miriam’s Well that I’ve been writing for 13 or more years, is coming out later in the year. Other endings abound, and all seem especially fortuitous. A chronic illness gig that has occupied me too often for many years seems to be, I hope I hope I hope, packing its bags and only making short appearances. The cars are almost paid off. The shed we wanted to build for 20 years is kinda sorta almost done. Bigger projects of the big dream variety in my life and work seem to be ebbing and flowing to new pulls of the moon.

But what is happening at this moment calls me attention: the wind suddenly surges like a standing ovation for the best concert in the world, an ovation that can’t stop itself. I think it’s over, but the fast air through my air and on my skin, the rocking branches of the trees, and the sound the sky makes tells me otherwise. Then, without warning, a few seconds of quiet before it starts all over again.

It’s a cliche, true that though, to say everything is beginning and ending at once, like the 19 minutes since I started this post, the moon climbing a few branches higher, a errant lightning bug sailing over the railing of the deck and back to the woods. While the endings are sometimes easier to see, at least in retrospect, the beginnings are especially mysterious, even tracking when the beginning begins. The chatter hum of the cicadas and the yawning roar of a distant plane tell me how little I know. Yet everything sings to and through me of how blessed I am to be here on a summer night with my best elemental friend, the wind.

Big Wind, Big Weather: Everyday Magic, Day 513

All night, the big wind blows. At times, the whole house seems to lift a little as the wind finds its way through every slat and crack. The trees are rocked hard, the dirt flies in the distance, and the animals sleep unperturbed.

Living in Kansas means living in big weather: large gestures from the sky as change passes through. Yesterday’s 70+ degrees will be tomorrow’s freezing rain. “Nothing lasts,” the weather seems to sing, shout and whisper, but all the same, I love listening to this wind that surges and drops, halts and powers on again.

While big changes can happen any time, there are months when such happenings accumulate to a screeching point, and March is such a month. Whether it’s lamb or lion, elephant or amoeba, March days and nights turn on a dime. Because of our non-winter winter, this March feels especially volatile. Why, there were tornadoes in February, and we’ve already had one prairie burn and may have another one later this week, a month ahead of schedule. Daffodils are springing upward, not yet blooming thankfully, but I did dream of hyacinth in blossom, large and fragrant in their timelessness. Yet the weather — always the weather — can deep-six anything that bursts forth or just lull along as if the air is always quiet and balmy. We never know.

Natalie walks by and tells me, “It’s getting pretty wild out there, Mom.” Yup, it is, the sky preparing itself for a 40-degree drop later today as it reminds us that it’s pretty wild in here too.

Big Wind All Night: Everyday Magic, Day 264

The house creaked when the wind blew, coming in waves all night. Occasionally, there was a lull that the coyotes filled with their calls to each other. Occasionally, there wasn’t a lull and that roar wrapped big around us. I slept and woke, feeling at times like I was suspended in the sky. At the same time, I love the big wind, a comforting sound that tells me I’m home, it’s a time of big possibilities and wide-hearted shifts, and that we live in the world of weather.

What Falls In The Fall: Attack of the Osage Oranges: Everyday Magic, Day 100

Sitting on the porch this evening with the heavy and fast wind coming and going, the branches swinging down and back out, and the leaves falling down in tumbles, I kept hearing them: giant thumps around me. No surprise, the Osage Orange trees hugging the woods here are full of Hedge Apples (who says apples and oranges don’t come from the same tree?). They’re big, green, brain-textured and human head-sized. Although I hate scary movies, I love the sound of green brains falling swiftly from the trees.

Everything Looks Different From the Water: Everyday Magic, Day 40

“I’ve gotten to the point where I would rather see places from the water,” Sandy told me on the sailboat yesterday afternoon. “Everything looks different from there.” She was right, I realized, as I looked out to the wooded areas, some slightly hilly, surrounding Perry Lake. For one thing, everything looks different when you get into the cool wind of the moving sailboat, and the August heat dissolves. For another, being in the center of the water makes you feel like you are now officially at the center of wherever you are.

We left the dock about 4, and for the next 4 hours moseyed and sped, leveled calm and tilted quick, across the lake and into a section of it about 12 miles long. I especially liked standing next to the sails, holding onto a line of course, and feeling the breeze continually wash over me.

All in all, it was a magical afternoon, our family graced with this gift from Sandy and Frank, as we sailed through conversations about stem cell research benefits, the latest headlines from The Onion, our kids’ elementary school days (since as the previous 5th and 6th grade teachers to two of our kids, Sandy and Frank had the goods on us), origins of sailing and how the Vikings learned to sail into the wind, the best food of Spain and Costa Rica, Flamenco guitar, flamingos and other pink birds, and how it was we older folks lived our childhoods without hummus.

By the time we got back to land, just after sunset, I felt, although half the ice in the cooler hadn’t even melted away, we were returning from a refreshing vacation, all of us tilted right away by sailing through and with the wind. Thank you, Frank & Sandy!

Death and Cottonwoods: Everyday Magic, Day 10

I sit on the back deck in the sun, shade and wind. All I hear is the cottonwood, tall and leaning a little toward the house, the leaves half green, half shine. To my shame, I must admit that in my mind I hear the song “Honey” recorded by Bobby Goldsboro in the 60s (voted on CNN as “worst song of all time”) and its lyrics of “See the tree, how big it’s grown/ But friend, it hasn’t been too long, it wasn’t big.” The song came out in 1968 when I was eight, and I thought it was the best thing I’d heard, excluding all recordings by the Monkees.  And no wonder: this cottonwood volunteered up when we moved here 15 years ago.

I’m digressing, but then again, death will make a gal do that. Mark is gone, and just today I got word from one of my closest friends that her mom, also my friend and a exquisite landscape painter to boot, died after outliving her cancer prognosis by years. One of Joan Foth’s paintings wraps around my book The Sky Begins At Your Feet, but most people know her work from the cover art for William Least-Heat Moon’s Prairyerth. She had a way of seeing the sky particularly that changed how I now see the sky, especially when I’m in the mountains. Joan pointed us toward the horizontal stretches that reach across ranges of rock or the tall expanses of color and movement towering up from the Flint Hills.

What moved me the most, though, was what Joan and I talked about a year or so ago on the phone: the birds and the trees, the wind and the sky — what you can see right out the window when you stop enough to look. She was positively ecstatic about watching, which was a bonus for her in her final years when moving and doing weren’t so easy. The more you watch, the more you stop seeing what you expect and start expanding your perceptions beyond the confines of your thoughts and thinking.

So today, I’m watching the big cottonwood, the wind coming in waves, and the biggest waves so loud and so light-dappling that I can only look up in awe and let it sweep clean whoever I think I am. I’m also saying to both my friends, Mark and Joan, and with no disagreement that “Honey” is probably the worst song ever written, “Honey, I miss you.” Already and always.

Photos: top one is the base of the cottonwood early one spring, middle is my book with Joan’s painting, and bottom is Joan’s painting, “The High Road.”

Surprise of Storm: Everyday Magic, Day Seven

Driving home this afternoon in the heat, I thought about simply aiming the car west and going back to Colorado. I could be in the mountains in less than nine hours, and that sure seemed to be the only way to escape many days of outrageous heat and crazy humidity. Coupled with the wind, it’s the kind of weather that makes me feel like I feel into a giant dryer each time I exited a building. Once I got home, I actually looked on wunderground.com to see what the temperature was in Chicago, where I could maybe catch a cheap flight although there’s absolutely no reason I even want to leave home now. But hey, when it gets like this, it feels like it will be like this forever.

Weather and emotions: both of them are the prima donna players of our lives. Whatever we feel seems like it’ll last forever — sadness, anger, joy, boredom, and the same is true of intense weather. When the sun is out, it feels like it’ll always be out; when it’s bitter cold, it’s hard to remember anything different. Yet weather and emotions can change on a dime, and they do.

Like right now. As I sit here writing this, the thunder gets louder, the sky gets darker, and the dog tunnels deeper into the closet (she hates storms). The temperature has dropped over ten degrees in less than an hour, the sky smells like rain, and some rain has already begun to fall. I think of walking from the parking lot to the Kansas University Union today with my daughter, Natalie, for a little errand, and how, in the heavy and searing heat, she turned to me and said, “I hate Kansas.” I wanted to say, “No, you don’t; you just hate this weather,” but I knew that both the feeling and the weather would pass. I just didn’t expect it to change so drastically so quickly.

Now I can hear the rain hitting the deck and roof, and especially some tin sheets we’re storing outside my window. The golden and blue-gray light competes, and the cottonwood leaves shake harder. It’s time to stand up, walk to the door and open it to what new sky life has just landed here.