Recently my daughter and I drove for 30 hours straight from the desert SW to the Windy City. It’s curious to call and think of this city as windy, especially after living in the desert, where the winds can be intense. Every Spring the winds blow from the west, off the Pacific Ocean. High winds precede a change in the weather, usually for the cooler. High winds stir up dust. High winds bring in toxins from the copper mines. High winds rattle the house as they literally howl through the walls and windows. Sometimes there is a sustained wind of 20 miles an hour or more that lasts for several days. A sustained wind. Then there are the gusts that accompany those sustained winds. The sand and dust in those storms can be blinding, forcing cars off the road and traffic to stop. Everything feels a little bit dirty and gritty after those wind storms.
It’s also true that in the Windy City the wind blows a lot. But there are also natural and human made structures that slow the wind down or divert it – trees and buildings and some very large lakes. True some days the wind blows in with a tornado, fierce, gray, and intense, for a short while. Rarely does the wind last for days, or an entire season (like Spring in the SW) and rarely is there a sustained wind of an intense nature. Yes, it’s windy, but it’s not the same.
Tonight I drove from the far northwest suburbs to the city after having Chinese food with my daughter and her colleagues. It was pouring rain, windy, misty, and dark. Especially on the highway where the higher speeds caused an upward spray of blinding rain making it very difficult to see and drive. Although I love the rain it is not something I see much of in the SW and rarely something I drive in. If I do it is usually a monsoon storm in the late afternoon, visibilty limited by rain, but not by darkness. So the drive back from dinner was a bit white-knuckled…with a deep inner chuckle at myself in recognition of how easy skills are lost when not used…
Wind: blows seeds and helps plants grow. Wind, brings in rain and washes away pollution and stagnant air. Wind brings forth changes in temperature and weather. On a hot day a gentle wind can offer some relief. On a winter day the wind can stir up a blizzard. Wind can destroy or build up.
Wind might be of the Holy Spirit. Pneuma, breath of God, Holy Wisdom.
Recently someone suggested that the movement at foot, of clergy “leaving,” may be less about leaving/abandoning/giving up – and more about following the call of God to move forward. Perhaps propelled by the wind/spirit. Certainly there is something about this that feels much more about intuition and spirit and wind. And like I said, sometimes the wind feels wild and dangerous because of its intensity. But often what remains after is fresh and pure, more clear than before.
Late at night, driving in the rain through Oklahoma I heard this on the radio: “There is no wind so ill it fails to do a little good.”