There’s a mini-cyclone in my front yard. Leaves spin, a dance that’s at once frenzied and mild, and I’m almost hypnotized. I have always loved storms—thick sheets of rain, snow like static, and winds fierce and raging.
It’s kind of funny. Whenever it rains, my little family hurries outside to open the hatch of the trunk, sit inside and watch it come down, or race pinecones down the gutter into the frothy storm drain. I like it best barefoot, head naked to fat drops itching over my skin. We dance and spin and laugh with arms outstretched. I exult. I absorb.
I’m not as wild about snow, though I love the chilly whisper. I’ll press my face against the glass just to feel the cold. With my hands wrapped around a small teacup full of hazelnut cocoa, I’ll watch the diagonal slash and flurry and wear a slight smile. Now and then, we lob snowballs at one another or roll a sphere across the ground, leaving a trail of exposed grass behind us.
But wind…wind is my favorite. It doesn’t matter how strong—hurricane or spring breeze—I love the way the wind curls and kisses.
The last two days, it’s whipped around my city, stirring up flocks of birds. Yesterday, my niece and I pulled over and stood beside the car just to watch sparrows wheeling through the air, diving low, or hopping over the ground like a giant game of leap-frog. In an open field, grass grew wheat-stalk high and faded into that same golden glow. And flowing around me was the unpredictable eddy of the wind.
I can’t form words around the feeling but I relish the feel of that tumultuous air. It whirls and cuts and tears over me and it feels like the breath in my lungs. A sigh. A scream. A teasing susurrus as tasty as the word itself. This too is best felt barefoot and exposed, hair tossed and tangled, my clothes snapping and tethered against me. It’s like flying or falling or standing in the eye of my own tornado.
Something happens in the midst of that circling, invisible element. I hear a snatch of something here, a whisper there. The words are a language I don’t know but deep in the heart of me I know it’s my mother tongue. It calls up the wildness within, teases it free, and whisks it into its own. An ache rises in my throat. My head feels light. Frozen air slips into me and unfurls and courses like a new kind of blood. I exhale and most times tears bead at the corners of my eyes.
Storm speaks to Storm. We touch and crash. I’m scoured, eroded. And afterward I am clean and calm. I may not understand the voice in the wind but it understands me. It’s fluent in my heart. In its power, I am as helpless as the leaves spinning in my yard—but I’m not afraid. Wherever it chooses to set me free, I know I’ll settle and everything will be okay.