Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Wind in the Trees

I grew up in a desert.  The Great Basin is known for it's strong wind.  Still air was not anything I was familiar with until I was 21 years old; I left the high deserts of the West for an internship in North Carolina's Piedmont region, and it was like going to an alien world.  The air was often oppressively still and wet.  The sky, even on clear days, was not the same blinding blue and harsh light that I knew and loved.  I felt exposed by the lack of the protective and comforting mountains that cradled home.  The air was hard to breath, for it rarely seemed to clear.  The moisture made the world smell musty and slightly rotting.  The heat didn't break, even at night. The lack of wind was eerie and made me feel as though I was waiting for something to happen.  I so missed the wind that the typically dramatic flight into Reno's windy airport was welcome.

In Nevada, the wind I knew was constantly changing, never predictable except for it's omnipresence.  One second it would whisper against you cooling your skin, the next it send the sand scouring across everything with a mighty hiss. The few trees would shake violently, reminding me of a fight.  The birds battled their way to the air currents they needed.  The sky, more often than not, was alive with mercurial energy against the blindingly bright blue illuminated with harsh, strong light.  Silence and stillness are uncommon there, but there is a raw beauty to the wind's display that never lets you forget how powerful the wind is.  it is strange that something as common as the atmosphere can dramatically affect your sense of wellbeing and familiarity.  You don't really notice it until it's not there.

Now home is in the Bay Area of California.  I live in a small city east of the San Francisco Bay.  The wind blows regularly in from the ocean to the west.  Summer afternoons welcome wind sailing down from the oce sacred site of Mt. Diablo and the hills.  It is a softer wind than I knew in Nevada, but the magic of it here is still powerful.  Here the wind and the trees often make soft, beautiful music to which they dance across the sky.  I love to listen to the whispering song as I watch them dance against skies that range from robin's egg blue to stony grey.  Hawks and ravens, wrens and jays soar around them, adding to the impression of a dance.

The wind here is gentle, caressing and murmuring.  The power is still there, but it is not wild like it is the high desert.  if you listen, you can hear it whispering secrets to the treetops. Even in it's fury, the wind here is more musical.  it still has the strength to break the trees to it's will and drive storms across the land, but it does so in fashion that makes me think of a constant, gentle, but unyielding force, rather than the frantic gusts I knew in the mountains.  The constant presence of the wind and the mountains made it easier to settle here.  Over time, I have come to love the wind here.  The soft movement and sound of it is a backdrop for life.  It reminds me that nature is still beautiful and powerful, in spite of all human attempts to master it.  On quiet afternoons, as I wait for my son to come out of the school and get into the car, I often listen to trees rustling in the wind.  It sounds like music and like secrets.  Sometimes, it even feels like an invitation to join the wind and the trees and the birds as they dance and sing.  I feel welcome in  a way I never have before, like I, too, am part of Nature, not just an conqueror living against a backdrop.


  1. Absoulutly beautifull. Made me feel like I was right there with you. The words that you use3d made the trees dance in my head and the wind called for me dance with you and it. Wild and free.

  2. Thank you, I'm very glad you enjoyed it.


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