Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Watching the wind
We can hear the wind before we see it. It rolls in like a wave through the forest, thundering in the distance at first and then swelling to a roar as it batters against the trees right outside the windows. I watch the show from the couch, half covered by a blanket.
I follow the wind’s path through the woods, this invisible force made visible by everything it touches. I watch its rush towards the house, I have a clear view up the trail we walk every day, a clear view of the farthest treetops starting to rock wildly and then the next closest and then the next until the wind crashes about the house and the trees right there spring to over-animated life, limbs tossed about violently.
Bear is stretched out beside me, the weight of her head pushed against my thigh. Chestnut is draped across my stomach purring his loud purr so it fills the room and vibrates through my body.
The wind gusts louder, washes angrily against the house. It creaks a little and there’s a faint whistle at the corner of the roof where tin meets shingles. In my lap Chestnut stops purring abruptly, he turns his face, wide-eyed, to the windows, listens as the wind buffets around the house, and I expect he will jump up and run, crouching, his belly just inches from the floor, down the stairs to the bathroom where he will crawl into the space in the wall behind the vanity. That is where he goes when he’s scared, and strong winds scare him.
But he stays draped across me as that gust rolls away and is not immediately followed by another. I had not planned to stay so long on the couch, but Chestnut is so warm and Bear’s weight against my leg is nice, after she settled down and stopped grumbling about how I have not yet taken her for a walk in the woods.
The day has become gray, though it started out all golden with sunshine and blue sky and it felt like spring for a while, before the wind showed up. Even with the wind, though, it is too warm for January. There have not been any stretches of icy cold temperatures long enough to rid us of ticks and tree-destroying beetles that have invaded our area.
And there is not enough snow, just a thin layer that has melted and refrozen so that it crunches under foot. In the open areas of farmers’ fields the snow has just blown away. In the woods pine needles dot the ground like sprinkles on vanilla icing, and there are bare patches beneath trees, exposing dried-up brown leaves that skitter across the snow with each gust of wind.
There is an abundance of quiet in the house now that Chestnut’s purr is not filling the space. Murdoch sighs from his spot on the stairs, the big wide step at the corner where the stairs make their 90-degree turn down to the kitchen. It is just the right size for him to curl into a ball like a husky in the snow. His sigh is bored, frustrated and carries far more weight than the wind.
I glance at Cleo, her white fluffy belly half exposed where she sleeps soundly on the bean bag chair in front of the windows and I murmur a quiet apology to the dogs as I sink into the couch a little further and watch the next gust of wind make its way down the trail, rolling and crashing amongst the trees and I wait for the wave to hit the house.