Windy Love on Antelope Island
My face is whipped by my hair & camera straps. Our laughter is thrown back at us by the wind.
A Storm rolled in, the clouds settled above the Great Salt Lake. Scotty & I drove out in his ‘Lil Go-Kart’ (F-150 truck.) Clouds changed colors & the wind whipped, enticing us on the path it wanted, as we hiked to the top of Buffalo Point overlooking White Rock Bay & Bridger Bay. It was a struggle against the wind. It pushed us forward roughly, then fought against us.
The colors in a storm like this are constantly changing, which is a playground for a photographer. Scotty enjoys outdoor adventure, but this one was for me. I’ve been doing a photography water project commissioned by the governors’s office. A storm on the lake was a great way to get images for it. I am also working on getting my physical strength back (I’ll talk more about that later, it’ll take some time.) Scotty knew it would help with both. He was patient with me, & it was a beautiful to be out there.
In my travels throughout the world, I’ve heard many different things about storms, specifically wind. Some spiritual beliefs feel that they carry dark spirits. Others feel the opposite, that they carry angels, or strengthening energy. Even the Bible is full of references of the wind & what it means. The wind & spirit are often spoken in connection to each other. There are many different translations of the Bible. In Ecclesiastes 8:8 in the King James Version it says “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit;” But in about a third of the translations it says “wind” in the place of spirit. When I say things such as, “Wind is cleansing.” I inevitably will be told I’m one of those, ‘energy hippies.’ I’m in good company. In Job 37:21 it says:”And now men see not the bright light is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.” Individually everyone has an opinion on how they feel in storms & wind. Age isn’t always a factor in our fascination with it. Anna Peterson (My friend who married my cousin) recently read a fictional novel called Downburst, which she says centers around Native American beliefs about harnessing wind. My mother remembers a song in the LDS Children’s Songbook as a girl, from a poem by Christina Rossetti.
Who Has Seen the Wind?
Some feel uncomfortable & worried, even when the mind knows there is nothing to fear. Others love them. There is something that drives them outside during storms, & feel an energetic stirring. I’ve been both those people. When I lived in Maryland (which would make me under 5) the front door blew open one evening as a storm came through our area. To counter my fear, I made what to me was a poem, “Mr. Wind wants to come in!” under similar circumstances not long after, I added something more nonsensical: “Why does he want to come in? Because he knocks at my door, every single day.” Being whimsical & quirky is easier than being worried. When I was small, thunder & wind made me feel unsafe. Many children feel the same. I was extreme. I remember being 5, & asking my mom where the safest place in the house was during a windy storm. She was always good at answering me honestly. She knew I wasn’t in danger, & told me so. When she saw that wasn’t enough, she also validated my feelings by showing me the center of the main floor, under an archway. I sat there for quite a while, as my family buzzed through their after dinner rituals around me. I was split between feeling worried, feeling silly that I was afraid for nothing, & feeling guilty that I was the only one in my family in the ‘safe’ place.
I had branches from old oak trees outside my bedroom window for much of my youth. The wind screams through them & against the old ‘storm windows.’ I know those trees, & they know me. They creek & move with the wind. The silhouettes crosshatched into shapes & recognizable figures. I’d look at them as I fell asleep everynight. I laid on the bed & looked out the window a year or so ago. The profile of a man with a pointy nose, cat head & many other shapes are still there. As I grew up they went from being frightening, to comfortably familiar.
My relationship with storms & wind changed too. One of the main reasons my hair is long is because of how it feels in the wind. When it’s strong enough that I feel a tug at my roots, a shiver goes through me. I realized that the first time at age 17, on the back of a motorcycle in Lima, Peru. (That’s also where I fell in love with motorcycles. I have a bit of a passionate love for cruisers.) Now instead of feeling unnerved. I feel positive energy during a storm. I’ll go through the story & link it later, but during the most difficult accent I’ve ever attempted, a storm broke out in the Philippines. As soon as the pressure changed & rain started falling I found myself almost running uphill, with energy well beyond my body.
Maybe storms don’t bring light or dark energy. They show us what is going on inside. They strip down the ego, & show what’s there. When you are faced with a storm, you are being given an opportunity to face yourself, & see who & where you are. I am in a different place now than where I was as a child. I am no longer afraid of life & myself. I’ve moved out many of my demons, & love storms. They help me feel alive. Before, they literally made me feel that I could die, such was my fear. If we feel nothing in them, that is also an awareness. We may need to create a space, openness, or willingness to see inside ourselves. Try it out next time there is a storm. Stare it down. Breathe it in. Move with it.
We headed to Jake Garfield’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party after, slightly disheveled. It is all fun & our typical oddness while in the car. I’d have it no other way.