Raw power in the wind

Originally written last fall…

Up early this morning. One of the blessings of being single is that you’re able to get up or sleep or not sleep and read whenever you like without bothering someone else.

Read the weather report–gotta know how to dress–and saw winds of 32 to 37 mph. And the prediction for gusts is 50 to 60. Wow. Looked out the window and, sure enough the trees are, as my dad used to say, “blowin’ like a maniac out there.”

Dimly recall a quote about an evil wind… Look it up. It’s from Shakespeare, from Henry IV, in the part where the hero Falstaff inquires: “What wind blew you hither, Pistol?” and Pistol replies, “Not the ill wind which blows no man to good.

So, let’s see. This is not an evil wind. It’s just a damned powerful one. When I go out today, I’ll certainly form a memory or two of things I see–tree branches falling/fallen, coats and hats and scarves frantically grasping human forms, leaves and papers and signs and empty garbage cans whipping about, little kids scudding along sidewalks faster than they can walk–all at the wind’s bidding. Reminds me of a story, an Aesop’s fable, that impressed me mightily when I was a kid.

The story begins with the Sun and the Wind boasting to each other about their power. (Remember it now?)

The Wind boasts that it is more powerful than the Sun. The Sun, says, no, I am the more powerful. So they make a bet. The Wind points to a man walking down the street below wearing a winter coat. They agree their challenge will be to get the coat off the man.

I, says the Wind, will blow it right off of him. And so he puffs himself up in a rage and begins to blow and to howl. His breath sweeps down and around and blusters something fierce against the man, pushing him and practically knocking him down with his power. But the man shakes and shivers and clutches his coat ever closer.

Finally, the Wind tires of blowing so hard and quits. The Sun smiles. “Now, watch me,” she says to her blustery brother.

The Sun begins to smile. Her golden rays descend and shine on the man in the coat. The sidewalk heats up with the intensity of the Sun’s smile. The street and the trees–and the man–grow warmer and warmer. The Sun keeps smiling quietly. Finally, the man stops, slips out of his coat and hangs it neatly over his arm. He looks around, smiles up into the sky, and continues walking.

Gentle strength wins out over harshness, says Aesop. And thank you to our veterans (Veterans Day was yesterday), without whom we might not have the option of using gentle strength.

Don’t let the Wind get you today. Be your own Sun.


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