It’s August. The land thirsts. Leaves of the willow, yellowing. No air moving.
But at five in the evening the wind marches our way. Not like a thin wind, more like a predator. What’s going on? We check and learn thunderstorms are bearing down on us.
Suddenly, leaves flurry and dance like chicken feathers in a hen house.
Wind and rain. We quickly leave our neighbor’s and hurry home.
Chimes are clanging with madness on the back porch. Tired from an afternoon headache (caused by barometric changes), but I don’t go to bed. Instead, I watch a light show through a window. In fact, I am absorbed in it.
Then it occurs to me—the wind in me blows hard sometimes, too. I’ve spent mad hours with writing and being absorbed in it.
So much so that I jump if the phone rings, that I don’t notice when every light in the house is on, that I forget to feed the dogs.
Then I notice how the wind eases to a whisper. The drone of the rain lessens, the echo of thunder lessens.
Finally I try to sleep. Midnight passes. My headache, totally gone. So what do I do? I gorge on words and lines of poetry. Into the night, I jiggle and juggle how to say things, trying to maintain my voice but be grammatically correct. I can still see the willow limbs swaying in the wind. My muse. I blame her for all of it.
I don’t notice the time. It’s as if the clock stops ticking.
Time. It flies like the wink of an eye. When writing, I’m here but not here. Here in body, but my mind is elsewhere.
Maybe this happens to people who love whatever they’re doing—mowing, painting, fishing, ironing. What do you think? And where does the mind go? I hope it takes a break from reality. God made us, so I think it’s an okay thing. Perhaps a built-in coping mechanism.
Back to my yard, wind, trees. The air is stock-still.
Tomorrow the yard will be littered with limbs and dried leaves from cottonwoods and willow tree. Though we have a yard broom and leaf blower, we’re more likely to let leaves lay where the wind places them and mow them later.
The dancing wind. Unexpected, but it brought us cool air.
Usually, I write whenever I can snatch a block of minutes—usually in-between little family happenings, phone calls, laundry, cooking, a storm, a trip into town.
Long ago, I got it in my head that a real writer writes at a desk for maybe six hours a day, five days a week. That’s discipline and exactly how I worked as a mental health counselor.
But now, I work in spurts and all over the house. Laptops make that possible.
I reflect on the wind. It’s probably more like my personality or energy level. I am pretty much okay with letting words embrace me when they do. Not worrying about when they don’t.
After all, writers are just people with different personalities. Some scheduled, some not. I’m in the “not” category. More like the wind, here and there, light and strong.
But oh, to partner with the wind. It wouldn’t matter if it’s like a ballet lifting off or the wind when wrapping the entire valley in its embrace like tonight. It’s all good, right? It’s cooling. In August, and that’s what we need in the South.
Certainly, I’d take a writing wind, whether it’s pacing or not, whether it brings a loamy fragrance or not.
And it looks like we are due more storms this week. I’m keeping my laptop charged and handy.
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Pat Durmon under her willow tree. Photograph by Rebecca Bland, July 2019.