Last Night the Wind Told Me

Last night the Wind told me why she was so angry. 

For three days she was screaming and pushing the trees down. All through the nights too. The Wind is so big that people don’t always know when she screams because it spreads out into a howl or a rumble, but in my bedroom there is a window that doesn’t close, and when she gets in that space the width of a finger, you can hear her screaming and screaming. 

I couldn’t sleep. During the day everything was wheeling and people were tensed up and bitter, and when I went to bed frazzled she sat in my window screaming. Finally I gave up sleeping and sat up. I went to the window and knelt on the floor, with my nose pressed up to the open part so I could smell the pollen from all the trees from all over the world that she brought with her wherever she went, and I asked her please if she could stop. She bit at my nose and said that stopping didn’t suit her—she would do as she pleased. 

So I asked her, “Why are you so angry?”

“When I was young,” she said, “like you, I was precocious. I liked to travel so I went everywhere and told no one. Sometimes I would be gone for millennia, just traveling through galaxies. I liked to make things. Sometimes I would break things. I was wild and there were those who disparaged it. Once I broke too many things and they said, You need order, you need a purpose. So they brought me here, where I had never been, and gave me a job. They gave a list of all my tasks and then they sealed up the sky behind them.”

She read me the list they gave her and I said it was an awful lot to do by oneself. She said it was at first, that it was hard to get the mountains to go down, and even harder to go up, and to get waves the right shape. The worst was timing the cycles for the oceans and the hot and the dry.  If she made mistakes, bad things could happen, like droughts, and for a time she took pride in taking care of us. But after a while that was all there were: cycles. The same tasks done every year for thousands of millions of years! 

“The sky seems big to you down here, doesn’t it?” she asked me, and I admitted that it did, that we liked to look at the sky and wonder about the clouds she pushed around. “Well I know what it’s like at the top, and I know what it’s like on the other side of it, and to me the sky is just a trap. And it makes me angry. So sometimes I go up and bang on it to try and get through, and when I can’t I come down here and have a good cry.

“Alright,” I said, “but you’re putting dust in our eyes, and putting tree branches through rooftops, and people are getting angry and blaming it on you. And me, you make me anxious, and I can’t sleep.” I told her it was like she had her finger in my ear, spinning my brain all around until I felt dizzy. I told her she made me afraid of her. She hummed. She hadn’t made that connection, between anger and fear. “Well what are we going to do?” I said, if I can’t close my window and you can’t open the sky?”

“Just give me space,” she said. “I just want space.”

So I opened my window, and got back in bed. I couldn’t hear her screaming with the window all the way open, and I think maybe she stopped screaming altogether. All night she leapt in and out of my window like a cat, and I, to the sound of her breathing, slept. 

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