Saturday, December 17, 2005

element



At some point as a midwesterner you become aware of the wind. Of course on some level you're aware of the wind your whole life, but not in a cognizant way. You never fully realize that the wind is an element of the landscape, as much as the sky or terra firma. It's the invisible element that defines the place.

Usually it isn't until you move elsewhere, or spend a significant block of time away from home the thought creeps in that something is missing. Things seem off-kilter, something's not quite right and you can't put your finger on it. The wind, where's the wind? Where's the driving, punishing enforcer of the weather gods, the force that turns cornfields into valleys of the moon, that pushes snow across the scene like a sandstorm in the Sahara?

Every place had it's silent element. In areas of the south it's the smell. I can get off a plane, take a deep breath and memories and visions of the south fill my brain. A heady cocktail of sandy soil and pine needles takes me back to the Florida panhandle with an old pickup truck bumping along the back roads, the bed loaded with kids anticipating a swim in the old sand pond.

4 comments:

Floridacracker said...

That picture is one of punishing cold. Intense and unforgiving. Brrr.

Funny how smell and memory are linked so strongly.

srp said...

The wind is such a component of life in Indiana, Illinois and the rest of the mid-west; also in Oklahoma where "the wind comes sweeping down the plains". In college, the light scarf was a constant headdress and the only time you felt really anxious was when the air was totally still. You knew this was abnormal and could only be a forecast of bad things to come.

Not so in Mississippi where winds of 15 mph were considered "windy" while in Oklahoma this was "barely stirring". Yes, memories of the wind in Indiana and Oklahoma and of oppressive heat and humidity in Mississippi.

Now I must go find a warm snuggly blanket to offset the cold from the wind in this picture. Stay warm!

Rachel said...

That picture makes me want to really bundle up! Thankfully here the sun is shining and it's about 50! No wind either. I really prefer this to that!

Lynne said...

Absolutely love the photos you've been posting over the past few days. I think that the Midewestern landscape -- while some would say is entirely too flat and dull -- is really immensely beautiful. This photo SO captures what it is like here in Illinois on a cold, windy winter day. Great, great piece!