Aaah…the wind has returned.  My shoulders relax, my mind stills. I hear the ssshuush in the treetops; watch the flickering light in the leaves, a myriad of greens tossing in the breeze. Follow an occasional leaf or stick or seed as it twirls free to the ground. Notice cottony wisps sailing across the baby blue sky. Gusts holding a slight scent of fall sweep my skin, cooling the sunshine and nudging the bugs away. I try to read but I can’t stop looking at the shimmering leaves and listening to their soft windsong.

I realize then how still it’s been here for weeks. And how that’s contributed to my feeling of unease this summer. Not just here in the suburbs. On two trips north to Lake Superior, two different weeks in July, there was almost no breeze, and the waves, usually so vigorous and loud, barely moved, barely spoke. A lifetime in Minnesota had taught me to count on wind there—cool, fresh, almost constant. But not this summer. The eerie stillness felt oppressive. (And the unusual air quality alerts due to nearby fires didn’t help either.) As though the heartbreaking events in the world had stalled life’s flow.

I guess I have always loved wind (except for the icy, cutting blasts of winter). When I visited coastal Maine, Ireland, Scotland, I thrilled at the insistent breezes there that reminded me of the air on the North Shore. Gusts that blow off layers of rumination–stale thoughts and feelings. That jumble my hair and clothes, tossing away what is too tame.

In a brisk wind I become calm–yet exhilarated. Scrubbed clean, totally present, a deeper self emerges—sometimes a tender child, sometimes a fierce Captain of Her Own Ship. Sometimes both. Disappearing into the immediate swirl of things, I’m suddenly clear about who I am.

But it’s not just buffeting by the wind that affects me this way. I find most lakes pleasant but uninspiring. Sluggish rivers make me nervous, but rushing, or steadily ambling streams, feel to me like food. And I revel in following the light’s shifting path across the landscape through the day and the seasons, as well as noticing the daily changes in plants and trees through the year, and the moon throughout each month. Perhaps I need Nature’s motion around me to feel whole.

One of the reasons I love fall is I associate it with the wind, with change and movement. I see the jewel-toned leaves tumble to the ground in each gust. And feel the fertile seasons fly away towards the dormancy of winter.

Is this why my art is so often full of movement? Is it reflecting my sense of the dance of the Universe? Or is it an incantation to calm myself?

Do you feel this way?



(Click on any image to see a larger, clearer version.)