i heard the wind howl
i heard the wind howl, that shiver-your-spine whistle of late november, the one that tells you the world is being stirred. the one that always reminds me, always stops me in my tracks, whispers: there’s a force infinitely bigger than you, there’s a force to lean into.
it’s the sound of something’s coming. it’s the sound of batten the hatches. and yesterday afternoon it wasn’t much longer till i heard the words, “snow advisory.” followed by “three to six inches.”
once again, i find my soul pulled by the world around me. i’m just a puppet on a string, i sometimes think, and i let my prayerfulness be defined by slip-sliding myself into the Big Book of Nature, the one all around, the one that whirls and whistles and blossoms and withers, the one that drenches and parches, sometimes stirs not a leaf, and some days makes like we’ve stepped inside the waring blender.
when the whistle begins to blow, when autumn’s shrill cry rattles the window panes, seeps in through the eighth of an inch under the door (old houses don’t know from taut construction), i commence the pulling-in posture. i might take to the couch, i might take to the underside of the afghan. or, just as likely, i might press my nose to the glass. wait. watch. scan the heavens for sign of storm coming.
i suppose it’s a sign of my spiritual weakness, my saintly shortcoming, that i’ll take a dose of drama any old day. gets the juices rolling, i find. shakes me into my senses. heightens my paying-attention antenna. i pretty much dare you to see tree trunks bending in half, posing in downward dog of the woods, and not snap to salute.
but then, once i’m wide-eyed, i begin to go deep and deeper inside. prayers take off. i am grateful for walls, yes, and roof overhead. grateful, so grateful, for that box in the basement that cranks all the heat. i’m grateful for days that don’t demand i leave the house. grateful for 10-quart kettles that simmer with bones and broth and whatever the produce bin has offered up for the cause (the cause, of course, being kitchen-sink soup, a name that i now realize needs some revision).
once those elemental gratefuls are out of the way, i sink deeper still. as i scan the sky for sooty snow clouds, survey the heavens, i begin to survey my own deep-down depths. there is much down there deserving of contemplation, there is much coursing, much that begs to be unearthed, lifted, turned over to the one who stirs the wind.
year after year, it’s the first winter storm that packs the mightiest wallop, the one that throttles us back to our proper perspective: we are defenseless if left to our own devices. we’d be battered without whatever, whomever, blankets us, keeps us safe from the elements.
my second instinct on days when the weather report is written in caps, with long strings of exclamation marks, and maybe even an asterisk or three, is to make like auntie em in the wizard of oz, to head out the door to batten those hatches: anchor the bird houses, strip the landscape of soon-to-be-flying projectiles, slip the old glass bottles off the ledge in the summer porch. and, of course, dump seed for the birds, make sure the water basin is filled, should any one of the soon-to-be-scattered flocks decide a pre-emptive guzzle is in order.
it seems especially apt this year, as the landscape of the world at large and the more private one i know best are both so cloaked in sadness, it’s apt that the wind is calling us out of ourselves, pressing our nose to the glass, stirring the breeze deep inside, rustling up prayer. we’re about to be shaken into our places again.
november’s wind is the call to attention. we’d do best to listen.
in searching for an image of winnie-the-pooh and the blustery day, i realized our well-worn copy of a.a. milne’s masterpiece, illustrated by the ever-charming e.h. shepard, has gone missing, which is a terrible thing to discover. so i made do with a frame from the original disney version. and i am so sad for the page that’s missing in action.
what calls you to attention in these blustery days of november?
It does, indeed, feel like our world is awhirl and aswhirl, though I think those are not words. Yes, we need to trust the one who stirs the wind, and listen, and pray. You are so wise, dear friend, and your words soothing and comforting. I hope your copy of blustery day turns up soon and that your world feels less blustery even sooner. xo
dear darling, lovely to find you here at our quiet little table. you know i love to make up words, so thank you for that (awhirl i KNOW is a word, has been a word, i promise i promise). i wound up so distraught at this reality of the missing milne, i admit to having already ordered two, one a compendium, and one a copy of the original: http://www.amazon.com/Winnie-Pooh-Original-Version-Milne/dp/4871873005
as soon as it arrives, i hope to swap out the illustration for shepard’s original line drawing…….again, those pages are memorized. it was love at first sight…..
Such evocative writing… beautiful…
From my recliner, where my fractured ankle is pillow-propped, I’ve watched the day dim and darken. Our children report snow tonight in Des Moines; soon, flakes will find us, falling fast and ferocious. But we’re snug here, my love and I, ready for the blast…
My whispered plea on behalf of all hurting hearts: safety and shelter, warmth and well-being, respite and rest… xo
love that you are snug, there in your recuperative recliner. but i wish like anything that there hadn’t been a slip down the riverbank that led to that chair in the first place. if anyone could fill her quiet hours richly — with brightly colored threads, and pages of poetry, and reams of poetic photographs — it would be you.
our snowy morn has turned into a sloppy morn. and my mama — homegrown weather reporter — tells me to be sure to shovel because it’ll be ice by tomorrow morning when temps drop into the 10s. egad!
here’s to a lovely day in your chair, keeping watch on the world…..
How do I sign up to receive the blog? I saw it, started reading, loved it then computer quit. When computer started couldn’t remember a name or anything else except “pull up a chair” which I then googled. Ah, relief that I found the right place BUT no author name or info on how to sign up to get these soothing, inspiring words every time they come out. Info please!!
oh goodness, i am so glad you found the chair, and now you have me most curious: is my name nowhere here? i THINK it’s on the page titled “the chair lady.” here’s the link to that page, but up above, at the top of the page, you’ll see a few little lines, each one links to a different page of “the chair,” as we lovingly call it. oh, here’s the link: https://pullupachair.org/the-chair-lady/
my name, so you don’t think i’m hiding it, is barbara mahany. there is supposed to be a little subscribe button, and i know plenty of folks follow the chair, but now i am poking around trying to find it, and i think i see the page differently (because i write it) than you might be seeing it. let me try to get to the bottom of this. i know it shouldn’t be hard to get this by email post every time i publish…..
thank you for taking the time to find the chair not once but twice, and i am sorry for any trouble. i’ll send you an email with all this. and hopefully we will get you all signed up. till then, take good care….