Listen! There is fall in the wind

Published 12:49 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016

There is the sound of the wind before I feel it. It is moving high up in the trees beside the lake. Then it travels down to the water and over to the bank on other side.

A gust touches my face as it travels along the ground making the tall grass sway. As one breeze dies, I hear another rustling the tall pines on the island across from where I sit.

Inside the sound is a whisper of fall. Maybe it is more a sigh from a tired world ready to rest from the heat of summer. I feel that same weariness this time of year and the slight coolness that brushes through my hair feels nice.

The water ripples from the movement of the wind across its face. Late afternoon sparkles of sun dance on top of those ripples and dragonflies sail along just above the lake, dipping and flipping as they fly.

There is a bit more strength to the next gust. I look toward my house to see if the umbrellas on the deck are standing strong or threatening to tip over, but the wind is not making it all the way to house. It seems to stop about the driveway and not a leaf is moving on the oak trees beside the steps.

Ah, wind what a wonderful miracle, one I’ve loved since I was a child. It fascinated me how I heard it before I felt it, how sometimes it threw itself into a whirlwind that bounced across the yard and then suddenly died as I chased after it.

Maybe wind is more a mystery than a miracle because you can‘t see it or touch it. When I was a kid, I wondered why and how it started and where it went.

I remember a favorite storybook with a picture of a huge white cloud shaped like a face. The puckered lips were creating a wind that blew the other clouds across the sky. That, I imagined, was the origin of the wind. I also thought that maybe it was the breath of all those angels I heard about in church or the fluttering of their wings kicking up a breeze.

I remember learning about wind and weather patterns when we studied such things in school. Still, I preferred the idea of a puffing cloud or a bunch of breathing angels to explain wind.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown less fond of the strong gusts that arrive before a storm, creating a mess of fallen limbs and scatted leaves to clean up. But once I loved running full throttle into that kind of wind, feeling the approaching storm like a wildness moving through me with every gust.

No storm is blowing in on this Labor Day afternoon, but a few darker clouds do move closer, blocking the afternoon sun and turning off the dancing sparkles on the water.

Now there is another sensation joining the swish of the trees. This time I feel it before I see. Tiny drops of rain are coming down so softly that it takes them a few minutes before they move through the canopy overhead to reach me. I look over to see drops bounce on top of the water growing in number as the sky gets darker.

I grab my coffee cup and race to the house, hoping to get the cushions on the deck covered up before they get too wet. Shaking water off my arms, I sit my damp self on the bench under the covered part of the deck.

The rain gets a little harder and this time the wind travels up to the house making the umbrellas sway a bit. I see my daughter standing at the door watching me and the rain. She cracks it to ask me something that to anyone else would sound like a statement. Nevertheless, I recognize her questioning tone.

“It’s fall?” she says smiling.

“Yes, sweetie,” I say smiling back. “It is fall.”


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.