The Ruach of Winter

First it was eight inches of snow falling on top of the last rainstorm-turned-to-ice, then the wind came, and with it a torrential downpour. The car windsheild wiper transmission (wipers have a transmission?) died. Along about the time the wind was kicking into high gear (if car wipers can have a transmission, I guess wind can have gears) Simon caught yet another duck, this time puncturing a leg muscle and instigating a trip to the vet.

The electricity was knocked out by a huge tree falling on the wires just up the road from us. The fence around our emergency generator (which chugged along for eight hours or so when the lights were out and the heat was off) was blown apart. One of the bee boxes was smashed. Most of the maple sugaring buckets and tomato cages “hidden” on the back side of the chapel porch are now scattered in plain sight around the back yard.

It was quite a day.

The old Bartlett pear next to the school was ripped apart — the poor old thing was torn in half in a lightning storm several years ago, leaving three trunks branching from the main tree. One of those was lost this past fall in a heavy rain, and the second went in this latest storm. The final insult occurred at our own hand, as the wonderful folks from SavATree came to remove the lone, lopsided trunk before another storm could send it crashing through the school roof.

During the heaviest part of the rain, we sisters were out with our bow saws and secateurs and a well-worked chain saw to get rid of the big piece of pear tree that landed over the sidewalk and into the driveway before the buses came to pick up the kids. (Can’t hold classes with no heat or light. Aw, poor little tykes … a free day.)

We got along fine, though: a little basement flooding, which we are used to by now (I don’t even look any more), a whole lot of mud, and six really happy ducks. Once we finally got the wet jeans peeled off and our hair toweled dry, we lined up our soaked shoes in front of a blazing fire and read and snoozed and chatted.

We’ve had some strong winds this winter, but this one was fierce. We were lucky; plenty of folks in the area suffered much worse damage and longer power outages than we did.

All of which got me to thinking more deeply about wind. We had just read the scripture passage that reminds us we don’t know where the wind comes from — it just blows where it darned well pleases. I know all the scientific explanations about temperatures and invections and air pressures … but the idea of wind beginning from somewhere is tantalizing. Where would that be?

Wind appears to be alive. It has a voice which can vary from a soft whisper to a whistle to a roar. Though you can’t see it, its effect on everything it touches is obvious, and ranges from soothing to devastating. It can wander aimlessly, spin in frantic circles, or sit perfectly still. Wind is … mysterious and amazing.

And at the end of a wild and scary day, that wind just left. Or died. Or quarked off into another dimension. And in its wake was yet another glorious sunset. I don’t know where the wind comes from, and I don’t know where it goes. And I don’t know why sunsets after a raging storm are so incredibly lovely. But they are.

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