Spring wind

The spring wind is here. It roars through the trees like a river, venerable as the Mississippi.

The trees writhe in it. Through the window, I watched the maples at the west edge of our shelter belt twisting and shifting. For a moment, I felt disoriented as my brain reeled trying to establish whether it was my window or the trees that were moving.

Trees are meant to move in the wind though. Especially as they are growing, the wind helps them grab the earth more firmly. Once we bought a tree on sale at the end of the season. It was slender and maybe 10 feet tall, but it was very cheap because it was severely bent. The top half of the tree was parallel with the ground. We staked it up with a rope to make its top point to the sky, and we waited a couple years. People said the tree would never be strong because it is only by blowing in the wind and moving around that the tree’s roots are able to take hold of the ground.

I like to think of that sometimes. As the plants and trees are being buffeted, their roots are working the soil, slowly learning how to become stronger. I never would have believed that even trees need to work to become strong and grounded.

We occasionally removed the tree’s rope, but every time, it bent over again. We almost lost hope. Finally, one day I looked out and noticed the rope that straightened our tree was hanging slack. Even before we removed that rope, our tree was free from the support that had been both holding it up and holding it back as it learned to be strong. I was delighted. It felt like we had won something important, me and that tree.

The wind buffets my husband like it buffets the trees. He stayed up late one night hauling hen feed in buckets because he knows the job is hard for me. As everyone else slept, he worked alone in the dark, wearing a light strapped to his forehead. When he carried feed into the hen coop, the wind slammed the door all the way open. My husband struggled to close it but the wind was too strong. For a long time, he stood in the open doorway looking over the moonlit fields, feeling the wind and waiting. Sometimes you can’t soak in the beauty of something unless you just stand still for a while with it, and that is what the wind made him do.

In the morning, I woke worried that my husband had gotten so little sleep. He wasn’t complaining about that though. He told me that the night had been beautiful, and it felt to me like he was still lit from within with a sense of awe. In his sleepy arms I felt the wild lessons of the wind, living in my husband just as they live in the trees.

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