23 miles per hour

The wind won’t stop in Big Sur. For a week now the wind hasn’t taken a break. We’re having a beautiful spring – the lilies and irises are up everywhere, it’s green and blue and sun in every direction – so I feel a little bit bad complaining. I saw one Iowan friend’s Facebook status the other day, saying she was ready to take a hairdryer to the snow on her windowsill. But at least the snow isn’t moving all the time, that’s all I’m saying.

There’s something exhausting about constant wind. Even angering. I remember when I was little, standing inside the canopy of what was at the time an absolutely enormous evergreen tree in our yard. The wind wouldn’t stop and I convinced myself I could talk to it and make it calm down. For some time I actually thought it worked. It seemed that as soon as I asked it to stop – when I didn’t yell, and when I really wanted it to – it would ease up for awhile. But I remember being angry at it, which is what I decided was my downfall in the negotiations.

Now I’m a grown up girl, living amongst a truly enormous canopy of redwoods, still angry at the wind. It’s hard to sleep, it’s cold, I get tired just walking outside. I find my frustration more noble as I think of all the little creatures – the poor Steller’s Jay couple building their spring nest have had to start over and she’s gonna pop out those eggs any minute.

But my grown up girl mind suspects they aren’t in negotiations with the wind. They’re just starting over. And I look at the young saplings that look like they’re taking a beating and know that this wind is ensuring their survival – strengthening their young roots. What seems ferocious and unrelenting is just moving things through.

It’s spring, after a winter of relative ease and comfort. Life is stable and sweet and rooted. And then comes along a Sunday afternoon, when Yossi and I go for a walk and discover the invisible little cobwebs that have accumulated in our relationship. And we follow the natural instinct. We decide we’ll open all the doors and windows – clear out the stale air – each of us not even realizing we’ve been feeling confined until we catch the scent of something fresh and new. He longs to travel and find his own feet in the world. I’m just now finding my wings here. And we love each other, so who would close a window?

Yossi sold his car and is buying a traveling van. I’m looking for a new Big Sur nest for one. The wind hasn’t stopped blowing since that Sunday and the sweet, fresh air is now just feeling brutal. I resent it pushing my best friend out the door.

And then yesterday, the news that my friend Ronnie decided to die. My friend who I waved to in his truck on Tuesday just had enough. The wind blew him through Vietnam and who knows how many other things in his seventy years – most recently ending his marriage, evaporating his wealth in the stock market and taking his home. Sometimes the wind is too much. It’s something I can truly understand.

But today life is calling upon me to strengthen my roots. To let everything move through… loss, discomfort, grief, fear. And trust that like most growing things, I will be stronger.


1 Comment

Filed under life, writing

One response to “23 miles per hour

  1. dear ms. lisa,

    this is beautiful. LOVE love love the image of a small girl under a big tree entering negotiations with the wind.

    and wise observations about how the wind pushes our nests and shoves us clean out of windows. it is blowing here in iowa, too. such a bully. (except for when it sets us down where we’re supposed to be.)

    bundle up, friend.


    p.s. do you like Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by annie dillard?

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