the wind that changes


Even if the fire takes you down to ashes and consumes you, leaving only ash, it’s the air that will take the very breath from your lungs and leave you wondering if you’ve been punched in the gut. It’s air that will get you in the end. Pulling you through your death rattle. Each breath a curse and yet a blessing.
In the field at the back of the house where I live, the lady of the wind gently pulls haw blossoms from the branches and floats them away down to the earth. I say, last time I saw you, you weren’t so gentle at all. She laughs… a breath bringing the sweet smell of sick that is the white haw. The wind, you see, she is female, she is most definitely female. You have to be careful when you let your sky lantern up into the air. You must do it with reverence and you must honour her with every breath you take from her and give back to her. If you don’t, she’ll blow your fire out and heave the lantern into a tree for the branches to rip the fragile tissue paper apart. Is that cackling I hear in the breeze?
Changing me. The wind is changing me all the time. When I climb the mountain on my metaphorical journey, she is changing me. She offers me a place to sit, out of the rain she lets fall through her net. She blows the rain into the hawthorn tree above me and allows it to stay rested on the branches. She blew me to this place. Gives me the gift of an idea for a poem about holes not being absences of any sort and why that is… I realise she’s taken me to a place most quintessentially woman. Most cuntessentially as it goes. Hunt pot. Surely someone must have known the connotations when they named it. I like that. An oldey worldey joke on us. And how come I never noticed that before, in this place where walking is always a metaphor and where women are drawn to? And it has been this way for years. And years. The water-falls over an edge that goes so far down you can’t see where it ends up. The drip-drip-dripping is so light you can hardly hear it. A soft, green pubic hair in various formats cushions the layers of rock as they rise. Dampness, wetness abounds. The place “sounds” damp, and she carries this to you on her breath. You think about singing an offering but she tells you simply to listen. Today is a day for your quietness. Today you receive with respect.
Being a metaphorical journey, my walk goes in phases. The phase where I lament not having the knowledge of which grass will work to bind my hair. I try one and think “we haven’t lost it” but it doesn’t keep and she whips my hair out of my hood and around my face and into my mouth. Then there’s the test where she blows buckets of mist and drizzle over me, whipping the droplets across me like a flagellation. I worry that she will blow me from the track, and it is very steep at this point. But she does not, even gives me a little respite at one point, when I feel I need a break.
Then there’s the gift. There’s always a gift at the top. Another time, another mountain near here, it was the sun pushing a nose through the clouds for a minute or two. It won’t be that today. Today it is the gift of pure quiet. A quietness so still your heart could break – you can feel it jumping and moving in your chest. So quiet that, quite some way away, you can hear the sheep’s teeth tearing the grass. Then another gift. A skylarks rises into the air, I have no idea where, and pushes out the most beautiful of trilling scales and chirps. Now the only thing you can hear, and you can hone in on every detail of its song.
You see silence can change you more than the roughty toughty macho blasts of wind. The most subtle form of change is the most powerful. Sit, be still. Hear your self. Be. Try that!