Feb 27, 2007

Writer's Block and other things that blow our way

By Betsy Love

Have you ever made the conscientious choice to go for a power walk when a wind advisory has been issued? Now, mind you, I love the snow, I love the sunshine, I love the rain, but let me tell you when it comes to wind, I hate it! Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t get it the first time, I hate the wind! Since I’ve issued that statement let me explain my insanity.

I’ve sat here at my computer day after lonely, pitiful day, feeling ever so sorry for myself. (Can’t you just hear the violins playing softly in the background and then swelling to a piteous, mournful melody?) When I went to the valley to see the family last weekend I stepped on the scales and jumped off immediately. The stupid thing had to be off. I couldn’t have possibly gained that much weight in only a few months living by myself. I checked it again, making sure that the dial wasn’t off. I had no idea dark chocolate could do that to me. I vowed then and there that I was not going to buy new clothes to fit my expanding frame. My resolution is to lose weight, get in shape and fit back into my darling swimsuit by the time I move back to the valley. Which brings me to walking in gale forces.

Before I even began my walk the front door blew in on me and I had trouble getting it latched. This walk will go much faster, I thought to myself, if I listen to an audio book. When I managed to wrestle the car door open and retrieve the CD, there were no batteries. I didn’t let that stop me. I began my brisk jaunt with my head high and a smile on my face. That is, until I turned the corner and hit the wind full force in my face.

Who needs wrist and ankle weights when just walking into the wind puts enough resistance to make you feel like you’ve got Thor, the pain inflicting personal trainer at your side. Only half an hour, I told myself. Yet every time I checked my cell phone I’d only progressed five minutes at the most. My internal whining set off and I began telling myself things like, “I never liked that swimsuit in the first place,” and “tents make great dresses.” It wasn’t until I rounded another corner and passed the cemetery that I realized that I wasn’t ready to pick out a grave site, which was where I was headed if I didn’t take better care of myself. I passed the trailer my friend had recently moved out of. (It should have been condemned years ago.) The front door stood wide open and I’m sure the wind whistled through every crack in the floor, doors cupboards and falling ceiling tile. Shuddering I was glad that my friend had found a much more suitable home. I guess I needed small reminders that my situation could be a lot worse.

I willed myself not to look at my cell phone to check the time until I made it to the end of the road. By now fifteen whole minutes had passed and once again I was walking against the wind. My legs now ached. Those cute, Hanes sneakers look adorable with a jumper, but they are murder on the balls of your feet when going the distance. I stopped stretched my legs, looked at my feet and thought how good a nice soaking would feel.

When I rounded the second to last corner I finally stopped complaining and heard something. It took me nearly three-fourths my walk for me to get a clue that what was happening around me was a gift. Each tree had its own tune, no whispering here. Some of the trees whose spindly barren branches, reaching endlessly heavenward, cried out like the roar of a jet. At first I looked to see what huge plane was flying overhead. It was the wail of the wind playing its deep base roar through the branches. Everyone knows what happens when the wind whispers in the pines. Imagine what that sound is like when it blows so hard you think trees might go hoarse. Imagine that pitch even higher as it whips through the telephone lines and you wonder if one is going to snap and come hurling down at you.

Then I felt the wind as it yanked at my hair and flung it stinging across my cheeks. Pieces of dust and tiny pebbles flipped against my exposed skin and I had to squint and watch only the ground in front of me. Though it was only fifty degrees my fingertips felt pinched from the coldness of the air. My nose began to feel numb. My pant legs pushed against my skin and I thought of how cold the fabric felt.

I tried to smell the wind. I laugh at myself now, because wind that strong could blow off the spray of a skunk as soon as the creature released it, had I been unfortunate enough to find one. What about tasting the wind? Could I stick my tongue out and get a sample? I have to tell you that wind tastes like sand and debris and leaves and grit. I’m still chomping on the remnants between my teeth.

Today I was given a gift, the opportunity to use my writer’s talents to think about writing and how I need to use more of my senses. Tonight I’m using my money to get me a decent pair of running shoes, because come heck, high water or tornados, I’m going for a walk every night to see what I can discover about my writing.


  1. Excellent. I have walked in wind that strong. My favorite is to walk on a beach with the sand piercing your face and any other exposed skin. There's something very satisfying in both defying and embracing nature.

  2. Betsy,
    You are so brave! I know how the wind can be where you live. I've seen what it does to small planes, storage sheds and the trampoline that seemed to fall from heaven...or maybe it belonged to Dorothy and Toto. I loved your description of using your senses and coming to appreciate the wind...Thanks!

  3. Great posting. Reminded me of why I hate the wind. I especially hate the wind when it's raining. Don't mind just plain rain, but I hate it coming horizontally.


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