Spring in northern New Mexico often brings along gusty conditions and sometimes relentless wind that seems not to stop, just subside for awhile before picking up again. It also brings a lot of dust and sand and a high pollen count which contributes to the allergy suffering of dripping, runny noses, itching eyes and lots of sniffles. But, it’s a warm, sunny day and for that I am grateful as it allowed me time to be outside in spite of the wind to get some work done. I often think about the wind, along with the other basic elements of earth,water and fire and sometimes even the fifth element that refers to the non-material world, much more prevalent in Hindu and Buddhist philosophies.
What interests me about the wind is that we never really see it, or at least I don’t, but we do see the effects of it. The wind blows, the trees sway back and forth, their branches doing some kind of ritualistic Spring dance, the chickens’ feathers fluff out and the dog raises his nose catching some kind of scent nearby. The tall grass waves away from the wind and bends near to the ground as if bowing to a superior force and allowing it to pass. We can even hear the wind blowing through the trees, see the ripples on the water and learn how to read the signs. The wind just whistled through my screen door which is open to the outside today. It was a short, high pitched kind of sound, just part of my observation of the moment.
I remember that the Greek word for breath is pneuma from which comes pneumonia and pneumatic. Without air we would not live as our lungs breathe in and out almost automatically. But when we stop for a moment and become aware of our breathing and consciously take it in and let it out, the equation changes and we’re much more in tune. In another context that word is translated as “spirit” as it shares so many characteristics of air or wind. You cannot see your spirit or that of another but you can see the effects. Karl Menninger used to ask his patients upon dismissal, “How’s your spirit today?” He knew, as many others have come to know, that vitality and vibrancy of spirit influence and shape much of the rest of our lives whether physical, mental, emotional.
Those of us who sail are particularly attuned to the wind as are many others who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors. The Biblical admonition about sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind was in the context of an agricultural setting but really refers to poor choices leading to disastrous consequences. The winds continue to blow and we don’t really know where they originated or where they are going. Even the meteorologists who track these patterns know that they are subject to change. Ah, the winds of change. Now there’s something to pursue. I will, just as soon as the wind stops blowing.