The Wind

Photo by: T.Anthoniesse -
Photo by: T.Anthoniesse -

The Wind

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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Comments 25 comments

womanNshadows profile image

womanNshadows 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC

you and i are of like minds. i love bad weather. wind whipping trees, leaves rushing along in front of the push of air too strong to confront. silent heavy snowfall. whiteout. snow whipping up and blasting anything in it's path because the wind told it to. beautiful picture of heavy rain. beautiful descriptions. thank you.

Zollstock profile image

Zollstock 7 years ago from Germany originally, now loving the Pacific NW

Almost a sensory journey. I can see that with some writing, detailed descriptions are essential for the reader ;-). You covered sights, smells, touch so beautifully. The only thing I missed, personally, was an account of the sounds wind can carry along (which in our neck of the woods can be a threatening experience) and, possibly, the taste. This is going to sound strange but I can almost taste a building, looming thunderstorm on that mild breeze that hovers, then stagnates, right before the roaring and lightning start. Finally, I hope that those poetic and real-life winds of change blow you to where you really want to be one day, geographically and figuratively speaking.

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 7 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

womanNshadows, your hubs stir my soul, so I am grateful that we see this natural state in the same way. I have rarely experienced a silent snowfall moment, but I know exactly what you mean, and hope to someday experience it in a place where it happens often. I love that muted sound, where nothing echoes, and your breath comes out in short brief puffs of vapor and you feel so alive.

Zollstock, thank you for that. I didn't realize I hadn't included the sound, and you are right, it is a huge part of the experience, but what I wrote didn't need it I think. The most memorable part of this latest encounter with the wind was silence. Maybe I should have included that. The earliest memory was a house in Daly City where the wind would whip around the corner and moan. That noise frightened me like almost nothing else. But now, that rumbling whoosh I have heard in other houses or especially in the trees is like a powerful peace. I like your unique way of experiencing weather - through taste. I have never had that, but I believe it. Thanks for the good wishes.

Botter Guy 7 years ago

As a young adult in Holland I had to ride my bike to the next town for school using a 10 km secondary dike. As winter approached the rain storms worsened. During those times I was covered in a dark blue 2 piece rain suit, the only part of me that was exposed was my face and hands. When the rain was near freezing and blowing hard, that ice cold rain would sting what was exposed. When I was of age I rode a moped and at the higher speeds those rain drops that felt like pin pricks turned to bee stings. I quickly learned how to protect those exposed parts. Once I was comfortable while riding through the rain I truly enjoyed that kind of weather.

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 7 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Botter Guy, thanks for adding your story, I love it. Perhaps most people dislike this weather because of past generations not having rain suits and climate controlled houses, (or flats). I would like to think I would still like it even if I was not so well protected.

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I dig the wind. I enjoy all kinds of weather. During Hurricane Charlie I went OUTSIDE to feel the force of the mighty wind. Where I grew up, on the shores of Lake Michigan, the wind sometimes, especially in winter, howls in off the lake and goes right through your clothes if you don't dress in layers. Thanks for the fine read.

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 7 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Cool. It seems there are more of us weather lovers out there. I bet your family was wondering about your sanity, but I would do the same. Thanks for stopping by again James, I love your comments.

Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 6 years ago from Ohio

You took me to a place with words. I always enjoy that feeling when reading about a place I've never been. Thanks. :)

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 6 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much Tom, and thanks for stopping by.

oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 6 years ago from australia

Alexander Mark. Hi. I enjoyed reading this hub. Wind is one thing in my life that torments me day and night,ear plugs don't help or work. It does cause a lot of damage in this country when it blows at gale force and more. The rain and clouds are beautiful. Reading about your experience has given me a different prospective. Thank you. :) :)

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 6 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

I am really pleased that my humble little hub has given you a different way of looking at something that has such a negative effect on your life. I used to hate the wind because it would howl like a ghost around the corner of our house, but now I love that it brings the essence of another place, usually the mountains or ocean around here. Sometimes it still spooks me though. You must live in the midwest?

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

They call the wind Mariah! I have another name for it when I ride my bike into it! Just kidding. We have to take the wind and rain in our faces eventually! Thank you!

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 6 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for your humor Micky. I tried imagining what the other name is for the wind, but I have come to appreciate the wind when I'm biking for exercise since I can get the same amount of exercise for less distance (I know, I'm lazy).

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Very descriptive and poetic! I love the wind when I'm indoors... but being outside in it - not so much :)

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 6 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hi stephhicks68, thanks so much for following and visiting.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, I am not so good in the wind! I used to be about 7 and a half stone and it used to try and knock me into the road! lol but I love thunder and lighting, I stand outside and get yelled at! 'come in you will get zapped!' ha ha cheers nell

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

I have always liked being out in the wind except when it's below freezing outside. I have never lived where it's as dry as you describe, but I'll take your word for it that a dry wind is unpleasant.

Very interesting hub. :)

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Silver! And Nell, looks like I neglected to acknowledge your comment.I'll be coming by soon to visit your hubs. I love thunder and lightning as well, it gets freaky when the sky turns green or yellow and the windows shake like they're going to shatter, but it's fun anyway.

Silver, I can imagine that below freezing wind can be a pain, because it cuts right through your clothing and skin it seems.

nomoretrucks profile image

nomoretrucks 5 years ago from scotland

Beautiful subject and hub this AM, you posted a comment on one of my cycling hubs a short time back, just about the time i was cursing the wind in my face somewhere between Leiria and Grandola, South West Portugal on my bike, cycling South West on the N253 road. It was my freind for a few days about 13 days earlier in the North of France pushing me South with gusto and helping me and my legs make progress, but the further South i got, around the Basque country at the top of North Spain facing the North Atlantic- we fell out in a face to face confrontation which i mostly lost to the detriment of my knees! No way i could back down, i had come way to far, but this foe became too much to beat without losing something, so it took miles from my daily journey until i could only swear at it and hide in a roadside cafe. It must have took pity on me because it eventually blew the clouds away and gave me some sunshine for a short time. I was eventually allowed to sleep in my sleeping bag without frost. On the last day of 21 days it allowed me to do a 103 miles ( my birthday) and we were pals again!

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Oy! I used to hate the wind, I'm glad you could still appreciate this hub. It sounds like a grueling experience everytime you deal with it on your bike. You're a tough man - sleeping with frost and all. I'm honored you took the time to visit and read this humble little hub which was written with the perspective of a child looking out of his window - or at least bundled up with rain boots on!

jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Enjoyed this read! Liked nomoretrucks contribution about travel! Wind just sends my dog mad.He goes crazy and drags me around and under trees,which I always imagine will fall crashing down on us both ! A couple of miles away is a 'Safari' park where live almost every animal I think on a windy day he can smell all these wild animals. As for Rain ! I think I awould be the winner if there was to be a contest as I come from Manchester!!

Rain,rain,rain. Thanks from jandee

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Jandee, I like your dog story. It reminds me of a friend of mine whose dog is a Rottweiler / boxer mix. The last time I knocked and rang the doorbell incessantly to be annoying, and when I walked in, the dog was so excited that she launched herself at me and jumped off my chest. Luckily I'm pretty big so I didn't get knocked over. But I dropped my cell phone so I learned my lesson :-)

jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Some power there !

Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil

I don't know where to start? My sisters live in Fairfield and I have lived in Vacaville. I am originally from the Central Valley, but I live in Brazil. I am just at the base of the dunes and boy does that wind blow. If it isn't blowing it is humid. Kite surfers come from around the world because of the wind here. I have to agree with you, it sucks the moisture out of everything! I often feel I shouldn't have a beach buggy but a camel. I can picture myself in long flowing robes atop a camel going to the local store. LOL

Rain, nah, I lived in the UK for 20 years, had enough of it to last a lifetime.

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Wow, from the UK to Fairfield / Vacaville to Brazil! Thanks for visiting my little hub. I would love to visit Brazil and the rest of South America, and hopefully catch some waves there. From what you describe, you have extreme differences in climate down there too. I like the vision of the robes and camel :-)

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