Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In the kingdom of the wind

WIND awoke in the darkness, and blew.

He rattled old windows, waking us from dreams of hearth fires and long summer days.

He reshaped the world to his purposes, which we do not know.

In his kingdom, no wall or window can hold him back.

WIND swallowed banked snow and exhaled it in drifts along the edges of walkways and roads....

 In his kingdom, straight edges are frowned upon.

WIND yanked rattling seeds from the ghost-bone-tree across the street....

In his kingdom, what is scattered is often gathered; but if not, no matter.

It is the cleansing and the scattering that counts.

WIND made snow devils that danced under my feet, whisked around corners, waved in long, icy banners like a blessing scarf....*

In his kingdom, there is no such thing as stillness, and chimes are made to be rung at midnight and dawn.

WIND wrote a snow map that I followed for only a moment, until coldness began to chew my flesh.

I fled before his teeth.

In his fierce northern kingdom, there is one simple law: Find a burrow. Or perish.

*credit to Robert Macfarlane in Mountains of the Mind for this simile, which he uses while writing about the summit of the Tibetan mountain Chomolungma, Mother Goddess of the Sky (ie, Mt. Everest). 


  1. I'm enjoying my burrow this morning, with a warm fire in the wood stove. Been thinking about how cold its been for all the wild ones.... and when Wind is added, brrrrrrr.

    1. It is a struggle for all, may the nests and burrows be deep! I put out a blend of seeds, peanuts and corn (plus suet) for wildlife in my backyard in an effort to help more survive. This is a classic winter, which we haven't had in a loooong time.

  2. When I read such things, I think you'd really like one of my favourite authors, Lord Dunsany. His tales are often like this, sometimes with more or less words. One of the blogs you follow is Beyond the Fields We Know, which is a phrase Dunsany used all the time. Although his work shows a huge range, & some of the stories may not be of interest to you (or me for that matter), his intense naturalist ideals really come through in most of his stuff. To him the doings of society & the machine age were horrors that caused him to turn to the world around him & assure it that this too shall pass. I got my habit of talking to everything from him, who would tell a field that it would be back when the humans had gone & pick butter-cups to 'show them to the hills'. One of my fave tales by him is on my blog actually, The Kith of the Elf-Folk, a beautiful, bleak & glaring indictment on modern society in the form of a story about a wild-thing who wanted to try & see what it was like to be human.

    1. Lord Dunsany is one I have heard tell of many times but have yet to follow...I will look for The Kith of the Elf-Folk on your blog. Speaking of the machine age, one thing I secretly glory in is how weather is uncontrollable by humans, and we cannot even always avoid winter's primacy. It WILL be cold, things WILL break down, and the natural world WILL force us to slow down and pay attention, whether or not it is convenient (and it is not ever convenient).

    2. The world around us could wipe us all out in moments; that is one reason traditionally Native peoples ask permission to pick plants, and thank the animals they eat, assuring them that one day they too will provide food for the earth. I think this world is waiting patiently to see if we improve. The best thing we could do is go back to living like other creatures live; though I think that's not likely or very possible that that would happen at this stage. We'd have to lose our memories of what we became first; which, though possible, is not overly probable.
      It's likely that if we were nomadic peoples we wouldn't choose to remain in places that are too harsh in winters; or else we'd live like far northern folk, who make houses out of snow and wear heavy furs and skins all winter long. Some of them actually take naps out on the frozen ground; imagine doing that and waking up to a huge walrus wumping along towards you! Life would be far more exciting than huddling in some building, hoping the lights don't go out, wondering if some corporation will come & save our souls before it's too late. We're so dependent on the grocers & the electrics: I'd rather take my chances with the walrus & the polar bear. But now my health is not up to it anymore, thanks to modern life. We just don't see these things, even now, how wrong we've gone off the path of everything else...except us.

    3. For now, we can only each do our part to live closer to the land. The permaculture movement is encouraging, native plant gardening, backyard beekeeping, local food and small farm organics...many see the wisdom in it, and change is moving from the ground up, I hope.

  3. This is so beautiful, Carmine, beyond gorgeous! And what a reminder, too, when I've lately been cursing the wind as it whips my skin so hard it hurts. I must remember... I'm in his kingdom.

    This should be in a poetry anthology.

    I've picked up "Kissed by a Fox". I'm excited!

    Sending love & warmth,

    1. It is a bit slow to get going and is a little stiff at first, but she relaxes into the writing eventually and there are some moving passages in there. Enjoy, and wrap up warmly!


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