Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Wind and Longing

The wind has been a spiritual metaphor for many things in my life. Today it speaks to me of longing. In all its various guises, it stirs gentle memories and raging passions, joyous laughter and wistful sighs.

In its lightest, most elusive form, a breeze that barely flutters a leaf, it carries a snippet of a forgotten tune or the whiff of long ago cooking drifting through a youth with rare pleasures. It teases out partial memories and gently tugs out a desire for days that cannot return, for things that should have been, for people who should have stayed. It is the quiet voice of loss that never is totally silenced.

Another is like the cool breeze of spring, moving the grass with waves of hopeful promise of what yet might be. Stirrings of new life skirting through the trees carrying the scent of turned earth and budding flowers and disappearing down the lane, leaving a laughing invitation to follow in its wake. Running after it to discover what is just beyond our sight, offering promises of new joys.

Most invigorating perhaps are the roaring passions of the storm winds, stirring up feelings of depth and intensity that awake awareness of life lived to its limits in ways the breeze cannot even hint at. It couples power and risk, offering those who are not too timid to reach for fulfillment, if only they will dare. It blows away the dross and leaves a landscape cleared of the usual, offering new perspective and new possibilities.

There are long, lonely winds that whistle at our windows on cold evenings. These winds keen to us of loneliness and loss. Like mourners crying low in pain, they resurrect old sorrows and current emptiness and refuse to subside for their season.

Even the lack of wind leaves its own special longing. The hot, stuffy days, when there is no movement, feel pregnant with waiting -- waiting for the merest stir of the air which signals relief. And that relief could come in the slightest of breezes or the strongest of tornadoes, any movement at all that would disperse the stagnation and weight of humidity and heat. Setting in motion the desire for change at, almost, any cost.

Each longing has its own wind, its own time, its own expression. The winds of relationship seem to be ever present, if variable in type. There are very few places in life or on earth that have the same wind at all times. But the wind itself is constantly present, just as longing within the human heart is always present. And I notice which wind of longing is blowing and from which direction in the same way that a sailor must. I also wonder which way it will shift and what corrections in course I will have to make in order to accommodate it.

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