Every change of season, from summer to fall and from winter to spring, brings a sharp, piercing wind to the land of enchantment. It rips and roars, tears and wears, blowing through the canyon and raging a war against plants and the people that care for them. Animals know better than to complain, taking shelter and waiting patiently for her to subside. But people, supposedly the smart species, punch their fists into the air, demanding an explanation and cursing her as she dances through the branches, over the adobe walls, and into the old windows of homes.
I have come to love her, this wind, although it has taken nearly three decades to speak her language. Instead of seeing her as ruthless, I see her as wise, an intelligent force who is determined to rid the city of its ugliness. Although she leaves filth in her wake, if you look up you see that she is purifying, taking the toxic chemicals we’ve created with our cars and our cows, and blowing them into an unsuspecting, yet deserving, nearby city.
She is strong, fearless, unapologetic. She is everything I wish to be.
Rather than running and hiding like I used to, complaining about her strength and begging her to go away, I plant my feet firmly instead, testing the roots that I have been cultivating. It’s our little game now. Can you push me over, I ask teasingly, excitedly awaiting her reply.
She rages stronger than ever, whipping at my face and tangling my hair, wanting to see how committed I am to this recreation. At first I would last a minute. Then five. Then twenty. Now, though, I have learned her secret. And I can stay in her presence long enough to hear her whisper the universe’s most closely guarded poems.
She tells me stories of the desert’s people, explaining to me the connection, the webbing, that holds everything together. She shows me with her strength the importance of weeding out all that is no longer of service, the loose leaves, the scattered branches. What is strong stays. Everything else doesn’t deserve to call this sacred land home.
She is a protector of the earth, a guardian of the native people. Like a mother, she knows what is best and is unapologetic in her methods. Some call her the devil, watching in fear as she whips the wind for the broomsticks of witches, others mistake her for a man, calling her El Viento instead of La Vienta, but if you stand long enough with her you can be certain that she is the fingers of La Que Sabe, she who knows all.
Her energy makes it hard to sleep, but it’s the nights that she roars which you can learn the most.
She means well.
Harness her and she’ll spin turbines, creating enough energy to power entire countries. Embrace her, and she’ll playfully toss kites from one cloud to the next, twirling ribbons to the delight of the children who dance beneath. Love her, and she’ll reward you with the secret language of your ancestors, carrying their messages of love, life and sorrow, dropping their words into your souls caverns, illuminating corners that have long been dark and neglected.
Last night she wailed, inviting me to step outside barefoot into the bitter cold beneath the fullest of full moons. She sees everything and, despite her cold exterior, worries about us, the great, great, great, great, grandchildren of her best friends. Feeling her sorrow, I lifted my arms up and invited her into my home, guiding her thorough my kitchen and down the hallway so she could see my children sleeping peacefully on my bed.
She let out a sigh of relief and left smiling through the crack in my window, making her way back home, east through the canyon, stopping somewhere near the Zuzax exit for the best view of the night’s stars.
Tomorrow I will rest, she whispered, pulling her knees into her chest as she rocked herself slowly to sleep in the corner of a long forgotten stable.
The forecast: Sunny, 65 degrees with no chance of wind. A beautiful day.
May you sleep soundly today, I say as my children wake up rested from their slumber, but may you return soon.
Don’t give up on us yet.
Don’t quiet your howl.
Disturb us so that we wake.
Scream so that we listen.
Destroy what needs to go.
Dance with those who are alive.