All night winds beat at the house, slamming loose screen doors and driving empty buckets around on the porch. The very walls creak and shudder.
The winds continue unabated into the morning. Later I read that wind speeds today reach 30 mph, with gusts to 40 mph.
When I hear an especially powerful blast roaring across the meadow and through the trees I throw on boots and a coat and run out of the house. It is about 30 degrees, fairly mild, but with the force of the wind it feels much colder.
I work my way up among the branches, moving quickly so as not to miss the wind at its peak. I stand in my perch and look out at the opposite hills, the air pushing hard against my body and face. The wind is so strong it sucks the air out of my lungs; it is difficult to breathe unless I turn my face to the side. Even without leaves to act as sails and catch the air, bare branches are lashing about like riggings in a storm, seeming all to move in different directions, crossing and knocking and uncrossing.
The trunk itself, with me perched on it, lurches precipitously forward and backwards. My eyes water as I squint into the oncoming freight train of air that barrels unobstructed over the open meadow and the roof of the house into the edge of the woods around me.
For the fun of it I take out my phone and take a video or two, but it can’t really capture the intensity and exhilaration of the experience.
By way of comparison, here are two videos of windy days in summer, though the wind is not nearly as strong as it is today.
I could watch the foaming of the leaves in the second video for hours. Like water washed back and forth by the tide, or seaweed moving in ocean currents. I think of meadow flowers and my post on froth and foam last July.
I spend as much time up in the tree as face and fingers can stand–which is not long. I return to earth braced and refreshed. Exhilarated.
There is nothing like being pummeled by the wind at the top of a tree to cleanse the palate of the soul.