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How do you capture the wind? How do you feel it inside of you, how can you explain that you do? How can you explain that the wind feels freeing and binding in one breath? How can you experience then wind when wind it is your memory of the fire that burned your home?

I was sick when the fire came. Days earlier, before I got sick, I had dug holes in my rocky ground and placed an arbor in concrete. . .I was on my hands and knees slowly moving [the leftover small] rocks . . . when a worrying wind hit me like a freight train. It hit so hard I almost lost my balance even though I was on my hands and knees. It spooked me. I thought someone had come up behind me when I was working. I looked but there was no one there. I went back to work but I could not shake the feeling of something being around that I could not see—something that was dangerous.from blog post Worrying and Whirring

As it turned out the wind that day was dangerous.  It inflamed a a few sparks made by dragging chains on the ground into an epic fire. It pressed the fire into going this way and that until the wind-driven fire had consumed a 1 1/2 square miles taking 66 houses and 30 outbuildings and barns. It threatened the whole town where we live. The wind was driving it down the highway toward the older section of town that was still mostly 50 to 100 year old railroad houses. Many have been lovingly restored but in a hot fire a 100 year old frame house is like so much candy to a fire. In a puff it is gone. People photo of mountain draws with a fire between them.who had evacuated changed their locations more than once to stay aback from the fire.

Today was a strange day. Some of the day I was productive and got things done and felt good about what I had done. Other parts of the day I was edgy. It was almost as if something was behind me and I could not quite catch it out of the corner of my eye.

About 2 pm  today I took Sophie out to do her business in a sheltered area but even there the wind slammed into me momentarily causing me to teeter before I could regain my balance.

When we came back in I went back to work and did not think about it, I had been cold when I was outside but I was warm inside. We had planned to go out on a walk in the mountains in the late afternoon. As time approached neither of us felt much inclined to go. We used to hike a lot but the past months we have hardly ever been inclined to go. Today we both had looked forward to it.

Then wind came up strong. The house puffed and creaked. We looked at each other and decided we “did not want to go out in all that wind.” We though we were talking about being cold or buffeted. Around 6pm my spouse took Sophie out to do her ordinary and serious business. When they came back in both were a bit ruffled. The wind was buffeting. We went back to our tasks but Sophie kept sniffing the floor in uniform rows and concentric circles. I thought she was looking for a place to go. I called her name and she looked at me. I asked my spouse if she had gone and he said yes. She went back to her odd sniffing behavior. I said I would take her out. We got her lead and collar and headed out the front of house rather than the back. A few feet out of the house I was hit by near panic. It was the same wind. It had a uniform pattern of air movement but superimposed over that was a back and forth wind that pushed against things that were 10 to 30 feet up slamming them in the opposite direction of the prevailing wind. Immediately after the release of the push came a whirlpool pattern that pulled the tops of the trees in concentric circles after having been slammed in the opposite direction as their trunks. These were little air patterns of double back, slam into the trees and create a whirlwind where the push had been. They were located almost like polka dots on fabric. You could stand in the driveway feeling the prevailing wind going from left to right across my body and I could look up 10 feet and watch the pushes and swirls. As one push and swirl wound down another would pick up the angry lament.

I stood transfixed, perhaps stunned in the middle of it mouth agape, breath shallow and slowly the realization moved through my mind that this was the same wind. It was cold where that one what hot but it was the same wind. I looked at Sophie and she was continuing her methodological row sniffing that was shifted to sniffing in concentric circles. She was running in her movements. She was on a 40 ft lead so I did not have much time left to stand paralyzed struggling with what to do with my emotional reaction to the wind.

With my momentary panic dissipated, I resolutely headed to the mailbox down the driveway and across the road. Sophie continued her near frantic row and circle sniffing. When we got by the mail box she took time to sniff an area where deer bed down. She continued to run from spot to spot with her nose on the ground. After several attempts I finally got her to turn back to our temporary house. Then she broke into into a dead run. I was able to minimize the backlash on me by using the 40 feet of slack of her long lead to my advantage but we did return to the house very quickly. Both of us were a frazzled. I commented to my spouse the wind was the same type as the day of the fire and that is did not make me feel good. I did not make much of it because there was not much to be made of it. The wind eased up as the evening went on and we did not think about it much. Sophie stopped her frantic row and concentric circle sniffing and I did not even notice that the wind was blowing except now or then when the wind hit the house hard enough to make it puff and groan.

Even as I type this story, though, I can feel again the wind slamming into me on that fateful June day. I can feel the momentary panic I felt it today just as my brain caught up with my emotions to name my fear. Of course, naming the fear dis-empowered it but largely because I knew my reaction to it was normal, not that the wind was powerful.

This wind pattern will forever be known to me as the worrying wind. It may be that I will worry ever time I hear or see the steady pattern of wind that is accompanied with the push-circle path created by the small winds in the larger steady wind. I don’t know. I cannot control that. I can recognize how much control it has over me. I can ask for help if its control over me is bothersome to me or to those around me. Given time I will learn that this sort of wind does not always produce fires.

How do you capture the wind? How do you feel it inside of you, how can you explain that you do? The fire has left me with a tiny, breathless space in me that belongs to the wind. It belongs to my history. It is my history. Inside of me is this tiny breathless place that will probable always be breathless. I will recognize it and nurture it and help it stay tiny. It would not do to ignore the space and have it become very large.