Longing for the Wind

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We’ve had our first serious snowfall of the winter. I love the cold and the snow and shoveling our driveway, in a silence of the other world, where people sleep deeply and the outside sounds are muffled. I cannot hear the cars and trucks on the highway. There are no children crying, no machines running, no dogs barking – no sound but the occasional clump of snow falling off the trees. I am alone, in the presence of nature and it fills me with an indefinable longing.

This week I’ve been thinking about the longing that strikes me, on occasion, to be something or somewhere other than what or where I am. I am yelling at my daughter, having the same  conversation we’ve had for the last four years – “pick up your trail!” I am tired of this, tired of being the haranguing mother, tired of the look on her face that says she is somewhere else while this crazy woman rants at her about piddly shit. Even I am somewhere else, because I hear myself and think “that woman needs a vacation”.

I need perspective and to center myself. Mostly, I just need to go outside. Being outdoors is meditation to me. It is a window to something greater, a reminder that we do not exist in little houses with petty concerns, but are part of a whole.

For my daughter, being outside is being in a world ungoverned by adults and rules and a clock. She spends hours building forts, eating snow, sledding down the miniature hills in our yard. Occasionally, I’ll toss a snowball at her to remind her that I’m here, but other than that, we lose ourselves in the moment of just being. I work silently at my chores of clearing walks and drives. She lives in a world of her own design, sometimes just laying flat on her back in the snow, catching snowflakes on her tongue.

I took a writing workshop in college that gave an overview of American nature writers. I fell in love with Edward Abbey, Aldo Leopold, Barry Lopez, Rachel Carson, Annie Dillard, and Gretel Ehrlich. They so eloquently express the sense of wonder that I intuitively feel, but find hard to describe. I could be magically transported to the Arctic or the desert by vivid descriptions that were emotive, but not falsely sentimental or anthropomorphic.

This is the gift of nature writers and photographers, to show us worlds we might not have explored or even realized were right under our noses. Here are some blogs that make me long for the wind:

Gin Getz  Her writing and photographs are lyrically observational of the natural world. Every time I read one of her posts, I am reminded of the ebb and flow of seasons, and of the interconnectedness of humans and the wild.

23thorns  He writes wonderfully fun and educational posts about critters of all kinds, but especially about those you wouldn’t want to find under your bed. His picture captions make me laugh every time.

krahnpix He is a patient photographer, taking photos of nature at its very best. My favorite (and my daughter’s as well) is of a porcupine.

the eff stop I’ve mentioned her before in past posts, but I am absolutely envious of her backyard bird activity (this is one of several posts of the party she photographs at her feeders).canstockphoto8266521

When my daughter and I come back inside, stripping off our winter layers, I settle in for a hot cup of coffee and she snuggles in my lap, cold ear resting against my shoulder. I don’t see the clutter or the mess. I see life and grace and am grateful to be exactly where I am.

28 Comments on “Longing for the Wind

  1. I love that silence after a good snowfall – you describe it so well. I love that feeling of communing inside and snuggling in after being out in it. Getting outside resets things for me too. I appreciate the shout out, you’ve placed me in some fine company.

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    • I spent a lot of times outdoors as a child and it will occasionally hit me, as an adult, that I don’t do near enough of it – especially when I see how happy it makes my daughter. You’re welcome on the shout out – I love all of your photographs, but have to admit the birdies are my favorites. We have a lot of the same birds in our yard, but I rarely can get close enough to really look at them. I love seeing them in colorful detail on your site.

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  2. Thank you so much for the shout. I’m working my way from the bottom up- soon they won’t fit under the bed any more.
    Krahnpix rules. I’m deeply jealous of where he lives- my wild place is five hours away from my home, and what with work and school and life in general, increasingly hard to get to.

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    • You’re so welcome. I love your posts because they have such a nice mix of humor and education! I live in the heart of suburbia and a metro area, but even our yard provides a wonderful ecosystem to observe and we have such extreme seasons that it provides a lot of variety – wild places come in all forms and sizes. I’ll take whatever I can get. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  3. A fresh snowfall is like a good blanket. Some insulation, protection, and sanctity against the ‘outside’ world. You always write so thoughtfully with such beautiful visual images. I’m off to go check out the other blogs you mentioned.

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  4. Ah, so THAT’s the reason my mom always told us to take a run around the block when things were getting too chaotic.

    Thanks for the blog recommendations 😉

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    • I’ll check out your link – thanks! I’m still trying to catch up with so many blog posts at this point. Stop reading for a few days and they really pile up!

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  5. You so beautifully described the sense of wonder about nature that we obviously share. It is hard to put that into words and photos and I never feel like I quite get there. And talk about natural surprises – who knew a porcupine could be a favourite!! Thanks for the kind words – not many people call me patient.

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    • I was presumptuous in calling you patient, since I don’t know that you are. I probably should have qualified it with you have “patient eyes”. You’d have to, in order to catch some of the beautiful shots you’ve gotten. There’s no explaining the porcupine – something just so appealing about it. Maybe it’s because it’s not a creature we get to really look at much. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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      • I’m just teasing about the patience since I have far more patience for photography than any other phase of my life. Sometimes I wish I had more for photography as well. Thankfully I had enough to stay with the porcupine – it has a strange appeal for me too.

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        • I did enjoy the comment about the porcupine’s natural defense of curling up not being effective on the highway – I’m pretty sure there’s a great metaphor in there somewhere!

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  6. What a lovely post! You’ve encouraged me to go out and take a look at nature’s offerings.

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    • Thank you! Even in the winter, we love seeing all the different animal tracks and watching the birds that stay around for the season. Plus, I finally got to use my new snow pants – Minnesota looks like it should in December!

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        • Well, if you’d like, I could talk about the backache I got from shoveling and how there were nearly 600 car accidents in the state after one snowstorm. Or how there is sand and salt all over the floor in our house. Or I could not!

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        • Oh my. I’m going out to weed under the palo verde. Gotta wear a light sweatshirt as I’m thin-blooded from living in Arizona. 😉 Still, all my best memories are from those rough winters. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I love how you described the silence of the first snowfall, and it made me long for our first big snow to come. I appreciate how you’ve featured other blogs for me to check out too. Thanks!

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  8. Ahhhh … the silent, peaceful solitude of a winter snow! You did such an awesome job of capturing it in your writing – thanks! Now, if you could just box it up and ship me some down here in the south, I’d be much obliged.

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    • Give me a couple of months and I’ll want to send all of it to you! It’s the nature of people who have winter for 5-6 months. We love snow to add to our holiday environment and then we’d like it to be spring, please.

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  9. Pingback: Rain, Snow, and The Sense of Wonder - Far From Normal

  10. Pingback: The Color of the Wild: An intimate look at life in an untamed land by Gin Getz (Review) | My Life. One Story at a Time.

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