I used to hate the wind. I spent a small part of my youth in Fairfield California, very close to the Delta, and the wind would blow like a bone chilling wraith, sending a vengeful cold into my face and through the fabric of my clothes. But when we moved seven miles east to Vacaville and behind the partial cover of the hills, it was less cold and less windy. But it was also worse. I spent many rotten days, the most memorable in middle school, enduring the deep freezing, penetrating dry wind that moved past my skin like dry ice.
Coming from the ocean, (perhaps not), I don't know why the wind was so dry, but it was, and it would come on the clearest days. In my terminology, the air was "high and dry." This phrase described my utter disgust with the harsh, desiccated wind that seared my skin with a stale icy fire. It meant to me that because the sky was completely cloudless, nearly colorless, and it ripped the moisture from my skin, it was like that all the way to space. I couldn't understand how something that could be filled with dark black or grey cumulous clouds that bordered a place so full of colorful moons, planets, stars, galaxies, nebulas and other stellar matter could be so empty and void and ugly. The wind brought it home for me.
Living in Woodland and Sacramento later on, was the worst. These two places are in the middle of the Central Valley, and eschew weather of any kind unless it's hot. The only good thing about the Valley is that it is excellent for growing crops. Until recently, I hated that too. Everything is always dry and hot and yellow, completely the opposite of where I want to be.
I love the rain and the clouds and the cold weather. Mostly it's the wet I long for. Snow is great, and I would love living in it, but I long for freezing rains, sleet and hail. Black clouds and lightning and thunder. Puddles everywhere and green green grass. No yellow plant life. No dry patches of ground, and only sunshine on Spring days where the sky is the deepest blue and towering clouds of white that start flat on the bottom and rise to tens of thousands of feet in cotton balls, dominate the sky.
I drove into the Bay Area recently escaping a particularly hot day in Sacramento. I went over a hill, then another and then another. Suddenly, there were low lying clouds floating over the freeway, blocking the sun entirely and turning everything gray. I loved it. I immediately relaxed. Something inside me collapsed. It was the tension I felt. I was holding it, like a reflex reaction that I was not completely aware of and unable to turn off. Like something pushing you constantly, and you're not conscious of it but you're resisting it, and when it's gone, you falter because you didn't realize it was happening. I let out my breath. At least for a moment, I had relief.
The last few days have been hot and sunny. But in the evening it has been cooling off, and a stiff breeze will form. Clouds appear in the distance and the moon and a few stars that can be seen in the city shine bright as the air becomes clear. This year especially, that Delta breeze is imbued with moisture laden air from the ocean. I can smell it. The atmosphere feels calm and wraps my exposed skin in a layer of it, comforting me, making me whole. Even though it's sunny.
The most amazing day was last Sunday. I stood at the polarized window in the conference room at work, and watched the wind blow the trees hard. I am so thankful for whoever put those there. And the green grass. But it was the trees that held my attention the most. The pale undersides of the leaves were flipping over in the wind. They contrasted with the deep green leaf tops that were in the correct position to stay upright in the wind. But even the pale colors made me happy because I knew the wind was blowing hard. The trees moved and flexed and enveloped me in peace so profound I could not understand it, just enjoy it and be in the moment.
I saw a few stains on the window left by the birds, and with some reluctance, retrieved a rag and window cleaner to brave the warmth and the harsh sunlight. I stepped outside and to my surprise, the air that washed over me was warm but cool and close. I couldn't help but smile as I tackled my unpleasant task.
The wind can be many things. In harsher climates, it can destroy structures and ruin lives. In farm land, it can bring famine and dust. But it can also bring moisture and coolness and relief to those that need it most. Wind can bring much needed rain, clouds to ease the heat and clear, clean, new air to places where stagnant air collects and stifles the soul. Wind is not evil, but instead brings change like a messenger bringing news from far away, the effect of which ripples through people and places unhindered by obstacles. Some days I love the wind.
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