I’m listening to the wind howl

by Lorin Michel Monday, October 3, 2016 9:45 PM

In the late afternoons, as the sun is listing toward the western horizon, right before it melts into the mountains, the air becomes incredibly still as if everything is afraid to move lest they disturb the beauty and tranquility of the desert. And then at the exact moment the sun disappears, the wind rears up in protest. Don’t go. But it goes anyway and dejected the wind dies down, leaving the desert darkening and quiet once again. Or at least it does usually.

Sometimes, the wind gets angry early, for no apparent reason, or if there is one, it’s lost on me. Today is a day like that. This morning was quiet and gentle, barely a breeze. The air was thicker than usual, like it had rained over night, though we didn’t hear it. If the rain falls in the dark, and everyone is asleep, does it still ping the skylight? There were still some residual clouds, left over from yesterday’s rain, but they were scattered, unable to regroup before the sun made them dissipate. 

By 11 am, though, when I walked down the hill, the wind was starting to blow. I had to take care of my neighbor’s dogs again. She had to drive to Palm Desert unexpectedly to care for her aging mother, and her dog sitter wouldn’t be able to get to the house until later. Would I mind? Of course not. It’s a welcome break, a reason to get up from my desk and go outside. It also doesn’t hurt that I can build up my step count on my fitness tracker. I told her that and she laughed. I know she feels like she’s intruding, but she’s not, at all.

I walked down, and then down again. If it’s possible, their drive is even steeper than ours. I let myself in, and promptly got pretend-mauled by Brody. Jax simply sat down, staring at he through his big brown eyes, his Rottweiler head steady and calm. I always wonder what he’s thinking when he sees me. He’s so gentle but is he secretly thinking of ways to attack? I have no such wonder when it comes to Brody. He’s a big goof of a boy, a black golden doodle and he happily jumps and growls and air snaps. 

I gave them some water, gave them some pets, and then bid them adieu and perhaps later. (Turns out I didn’t need to go back as the dog sitter arrived mid-afternoon.) I trudged back up the hill, into a wind blowing stronger than when I got there, and I’d only been inside for 15 minutes or so. By the time I got back up to our house, winded and hot, the desert was blowing at me pretty good. 

Strong and whistling, making my wind chimes hit the wall and the glass of the windows, clanging rather than just singing prettily. By the time the sun began its trek toward the west, the whistle had turned to a sorrowful howl, a wounded animal in search of attention and love. It will get none from me. I don’t like wind. I find it rude and intrusive, sometimes, depending on the gusts, I find it dangerous, strong enough to rip trees from the ground, to make the solar panels on the roof moan with the struggle to stay attached.

It’s amazing to me how alive something so invisible can be. How alive and vibrant and terrible and tyrannical. I’ve never understood why wind needs to be so forceful, not when a nice breeze will do, thank you. But blow and cuss it does. And so I sit here, listening to its jangly song, watching as it whips the buffelgrass and the fountain grass and the ocotillos and the mesquite trees, watching the saguaros sway. And I celebrate the fact that while it is blowing it out loud out there, I am perfectly protected in here, and that makes me happy.

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live out loud

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