The “mild” sore back is indirectly the result of a few 60 miles an hour wind gusts. Those gusts tore twigs and one small branch from the elm trees in my yard. I had previously planned to mow, so the debris had to be manually raked and removed. I try to rake mindfully so as to prevent twisting the back–helping to avoid muscle strain. However, after an hour of work, the mind wanders as mindfulness fades away.
The complaint isn’t mainly about the raking, it’s about the frequency of strong winds lately. These winds cause the extra work to occur multiple times each month. During previous years, raking the entire yard usually ocurred only a few times per year plus the usual Autumn leaf raking. Now, with the trees fully leafed, there is more wind resistance that leads to more wind damage from strong winds.
Thoughts of these conditions crossed my mind while cleaning the yard and mowing. Certainly cursing the wind is futile and brings about no constructive result. Then again, people tend to grumble about inconvenience, especially inconvenience that involves hard physical labor.
Aside from causing tree damage, wind affects other aspects of life. Strong winds negatively affect crop fields due to settling dust and erosion. The violent winds of hurricanes and tornadoes bring about destruction and death. These facts usually rest in denial in the back of my mind. Dread is triggered at the wailing of warning sirens during the nine o’clock morning tests. They occur each Tuesday during the main thunderstorm season. The weekly siren test took place while I raked the yard.
Someone once remarked that “if you cannot fight it, use it”. Our state electric utility seems to have done that with wind turbines. These gigantic windmills are being planted in farmland in great numbers across northeastern Nebraska. I like to think that the force to move the enormous blades helps diminish the air velocity downwind of each turbine. Perhaps it does, but not to any meaningful degree. Someone has probably investigated this possible phenomenon. I should look into this.
“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”–20th century American naturalist and writer, Henry Beston
As time goes by, I remember that the wind, along with storms, heat, cold, and other natural phenomenon are neutral. It is our interaction and interpretation of nature that inspires our aversion to or our enjoyment of nature. When the winds trigger people to study and become meteorologists or climatologists, we benefit from their efforts. When the winds cause novelists and poets to contemplate, we get literature and poems.
As an end note, after I finished mowing then began sweeping the driveway, a cool, light northwesterly breeze arrived. The moving air felt refreshing and brought a smile to my face. It’s almost as if Zephyr was apologizing for the inconvenience of the previous day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes British poet, Alice Oswald. “When the wind blows through a wood, its mass is cut and closed by every leaf, forming a train of jittery vortices in the air.”