Springtime feels eager. I like that about it. Things ready to return, coming to life. Even with frustrating stop-starts, temperatures faltering all over the place, still we’re tumbling more or less forward into something frolicsome and fresh. This year feels doubly so. Welcome, spring!
The wind, though… gah.
When I’m looking forward to daffodils and tulips and lilacs (oh, I can’t wait for the lilacs) — and later sunsets with leisurely twilight bike rides — and the long shoulder season when neither heater nor cooler is needed to keep the house perfect… Every year I forget that spring is also going to bring that doggone New Mexico wind.
It’ll be a perfectly nice, sunny day when all of a sudden the wind picks up and squalls us back to winter. This year, it seems especially coordinated to coincide with trash pickups, so the recycling gets knocked over and swept up into the neighborhood trees. A tumbleweed flew out of nowhere and I couldn’t avoid driving right over it as I was running errands the other day. It got stuck in my wheel well, so I dragged it through the bank lane and an emissions test before finally conceding that it wasn’t going to dislodge on its own and pulled over to extricate it, piece by pointy piece, in a Dion’s parking lot.
I shook my fist at the sky like the old coot I’m becoming and shouted some King Lear at it: “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!”
It’s a silly thing to rail against, the wind. No matter how inconvenienced or annoyed I am about it, part of me is usually rational enough to feel pretty foolish yelling at any weather phenomena. It doesn’t stop me from grumbling, but I know that sun and wind and rain don’t care much what I think. Regarding the weather, in the end, my choice is always simply to accept or not, to be okay with what’s happening, or not.
And the thing is — when I decide to work with it rather than against it, I can experience power and energy and movement there.
I was introduced recently to the Dutch concept of uitwaaien (“out-vwy-ehn”). It’s not perfectly translatable, but it means something like, “to walk in the wind.” In a positive way. Uitwaaien is a good thing. It celebrates outdoor activities in windy conditions, especially in nature, as a way to refresh one’s soul and clear one’s mind.
Of course that sounds perfectly lovely when I imagine myself hiking along a blustery coastline, taking in the amazing views, wearing a flattering, nautical-chic inspired outfit, writing verse in my head as I walk, looking forward to the hot toddy and stew waiting for me back at the quaint seaside cabin I’ve rented for the month. It’s less glamorous when I’m picking tumbleweed debris and pigeon feathers out of my teeth.
Still, while uitwaaien refers to the actual physical experience, “walking in the wind” also sure sounds like a helpful metaphor, a useful philosophy. Maybe something about holding fast to one’s course when the winds of change are whipping us this way and that. Or maybe not sticking stubbornly to a particular path, but rather allowing the winds to guide us, steer us, or lift us. Maybe some of both.
Because being in the wind — whether literal or symbolic — tends to be about achieving the right measures of resistance and flow. To be effective and intentional in the wind requires some of this balance, anyway. I mean, yeah, sometimes it can also be lovely to just give ourselves over to it completely, to get knocked off our feet, blown away, surrendering utterly. But if we want to actually get somewhere or do something on purpose, working with the wind means resisting it just enough, in just the right ways.
On one of our blustery days this week I watched a young man fly a kite at UNM’s Johnson Field. That’s a solid example of catching the wind, working with it. Kites fly not just because of the wind carrying them, but also because of the tether holding them to the ground. Sailboats, too. And airplanes. And windmills. The resistance is an essential part of the equation as they move and fly and generate power.
I’m not exactly sure where these thoughts are leading this week… I may have to let the wind carry me a little before I decide where to go. But the themes blowing around in my head are all about wind power, winds of change, and catching the wind as we navigate toward our next-to-be.
I hope that you’ll join us in person this Sunday, February 27, 10:00am at Maple Street Dance Space. For the time being, we’re remaining masked when we meet indoors in person. I know some of us are impatient to cast the masks aside for good, but our primary consideration right now has to be care for the wellbeing of those among us who may be immune-comprised. Thank you for your understanding and patience. We’re gettin’ there… Love, Drew
©2022 Drew Groves