Friday, November 6, 2009

Kansas Winds

No surprise that the wind blows - a lot - in Kansas. Sometimes it howls and batters everything from the ground up. Sometimes it sounds as if it is whipping everything apart, but if you look, only the treetops are thrashing. Sometimes it is a high wind, high up in the atmosphere, that you can only hear and not necessarily see. There is a particular sound in those winds that brings a deep melancholy to my spirit. I do not know why.

Wind often brings a change in the weather. The horses are always high strung and nervous then. I have to be watchful around them as the slightest thing sets them off. They smell fresh scents from far locations, and if they were free, they would cover miles and miles with that wind. I understand. All of us were once free to roam this world, horses and humans.

Sometimes a mighty storm rolls in from the Rockies. You can sense the shift in the atmosphere. I like wrapping in a big quilt, laying in the dark, hearing the roaring winter wind. Those same winds in the other seasons are frightening because they could contain a tornado or out flow winds. Those winds are too exciting and dangerous and I am always a bit sad when they subside.

Most of the rain that falls in Kansas begins as humidity in the Gulf of Mexico. If the weather has been dry, or exceedingly cold, drying the air, when those Southern humid winds arrive you catch the scent of water. Those sweet, moisture laden winds remind me of Hawaii where the Pacific winds comb through the islands each day with frequent showers and numerous rainbows.

Some days in Kansas there is little wind but if you look high up, a silent rushing moves clouds in a sustained current, a literal river in the atmosphere. It is a perfect time to lay back in the sunlight, watching this dramatic movement in the ocean of air in which we live. It gives me the sensation of determination, as if it is heading to a destination with purpose and resolve.

Tonight the wind is high up, building and subsiding in waves as it rolls in from the south. It is a comforting sound I love. It is the sound of Kansas. Toward the ground there are no tree branches or items blowing in the dark. The small red bud trees just out the front window are not moving at all. Near the house is it almost windless but if it were daylight, I would see the tall grasses on the ridges moving in the ebb of these winds. Lower down, not even the fallen leaves stir.

Sometimes there are breezes that come in low, along the ground, yet not a single branch moves. There are eddies of air that come among the buildings, day or night, and tug at your hair or clothing from different directions. Sometimes you could swear the wind has an awareness of you.

One brisk spring day, my brother and I were in our grandfather's meadow. It was really too cold to be there without our coats. Though it was spring, and the meadow was beginning to green, the wind out of the north was cold. An endless army of small puffs of clouds were being driven low and fast before that cold wind, rolling shadows quickly along the ground. In the spontaneous invention of children, we began a game of cloud tag. The idea was to stay in the shadows racing along the ground. Of that bright morning I remember the pure white shapes of sunlit clouds - it seems as if they were hardly off the ground. It is hard to say how long we laughed and tumbled in the fragrant grass that morning, diving and rolling into the shadows. At some point there was total abandon into the perfect present, and not only could we better judge the shadows, the clouds themselves seemed to participate in the play. It was magic. My brother has no memory of this perfect day - we were very young. But I remember it well.


Li'l Ned said...

Oh Jackie, I so envy you your way with words, your ability to bring clarity to your own thoughts and feelings, and share them with us so beautifully. Thanks for this post on winds. Fall and spring are our windy times, and about the only time we really get clouds (other than winter cover) here in the desert. I LOVE watching the sky and your words have reminded me of how much more often I was aware of and focused on the sky and clouds as a child than I am now. Gotta reform.

Jackie said...

Kathy, you are a fantastic writer. I love your blog and your perennial humor. It's mutual admiration between authors. ; )

cyberkit said...

"In the chilly hours and minutes,
Of uncertainty, I want to be,
In the warm hold of your loving mind.

"To feel you all around me,
And to take your hand, along the sand,
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind..."
-'Catch the Wind' Donovan Leitch-

The only time I've ever seen low powder-puff clouds romping across the sky was in Kansas. I've seen them driving on my way to Kansas, but I'm pretty sure the clouds themselves were over Kansas.

My minds eye can clearly see you and your brother joyously running through the meadow. Thank you for the image. I can't begin to tell you what that does for my spirit.

cyberkit said...

P.S. Kathy's annual humor is pretty good too!