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Wind. I’ve never liked it, except when it rustles the fronds of the palm trees. Contradictorily, that’s my favorite sound. But I’d scarcely call that wind. That’s a breeze, gentle and joyful.

Wind is what we get here in the Front Range and the Wet Mountains. This is what took down a 75-foot tree that miraculously and by the slimmest of margins missed the Carriage House. This is what makes me look with great skepticism out of the living room window as another giant pine tree bends and twists against the blue sky, its trajectory perfectly aligned with my bedroom.

Wind is what never hesitates to remind me of the ruptured eardrum that I suffered at age two when my mother was in the hospital with pneumonia. Each time the wind, anywhere from lukewarm to freezing, gains access to my right ear, it hurts like the dickens.

Wind is why I don’t like Wyoming. It seems ever-present there. I recall spending a night in the back of my truck the summer after college trying to sleep through it – wasn’t sure if I was going to freeze or go mad, and it was June.

And wind is what led to the destruction of the Cozy House and an entire community. Wind that decide to dance with fire — and what a dance it was.

From the Retreat, I can’t see the wind coming because I’m already in it. But further away from the mountains, it’s easy to tell when it will be a day of the warm, dry, harsh winds that indigenous people used to call “snow eaters” and which we call Chinooks. There’s a bright clear sky and over the mountains, a thick shelf of white cloud in a straight line. If you’ve lived here long enough, you know to hang on to your small pets and tie down your trampolines when you see that anytime between November and April.

Ages ago, I read or someone told me that the indigenous people called them “the winds of madness”. I’ve never been able to find a source for that, but I don’t doubt it’s true. The sound, the uncertainty, the constancy of them can indeed make you feel more than a little crazy.

Unfortunately for too many of us, they now raise feelings of pain, fear, loss, anger, and trauma, digging into wounds that are only barely starting to scab over. I have reminded myself a dozen times today of the freakish circumstances that made me lose the Cozy House and that there’s nothing left to lose there now. But at the Retreat, I have the rest of what’s left to lose. It’s impossible not to think about it, about what I would take, about how to arrange the house so I could quickly pack those treasures I didn’t lose. About how a single spark from a cigarette tossed out of a car window on the Frontier Pathway could take all this away from me.

About how little control we actually have.

Today’s gratitudes:

  • Decent sleep
  • Wise decisions
  • Experimental cooking
  • Good books

I seldom get political here. But now, I must. Since I cannot guarantee that I will not do so again, I am calling this Part One. If you have no interest in reading a political-related post based mostly on feelings, I’d suggest you go wash your cat or trim your hedges now.

I cannot stomach the hatred and blindness that I am seeing from appointed representatives within the Republican Party. I have been watching the convention. And listening to nothing but hate. I hear nothing constructive, nothing concrete, nothing positive. Just hateful rhetoric. I don’t think Hillary Clinton is the be all and end all of candidates. But the way that spokespeople in the Republican Party have denigrated her, placed all blame on her for actions that are indeed beyond her sole control, have insulted everything about her as a human being, is unacceptable. People do not speak about each other that way. Not people who I want in charge of the future of this country. They tell lies. They make assumptions. Some of the things they say seem insane. Ben Carson just said, in essence, that she holds Lucifer as a role model, based on a dedication in her graduate thesis.

Mr. Trump spent half of his campaign claiming that the system was rigged. I do not hear him making that claim now that he is the nominee. How does he reconcile that? It’s not fair unless I win? Isn’t that what kindergarteners do? Anyone who has spent any time in New York City knows his influence there, knows who his cronies were (and no doubt are), knows about the lawsuits, the bankruptcies. Anyone who has watched any television knows he has based his visibility on trashy, vile reality television – and I feel justified in saying that because I watched it. How can this man be the leader of America when he is being shunned by former Presidents from his own party – and I’m not a Bush supporter either? How can someone who has admitted, in so many words, that he tailors his ethics to suit the business situation, spill such bile about Mrs. Clinton? He stated on an interview earlier this week that Hillary Clinton created ISIS. Seriously.

I am a believer in you don’t have to respect the man, but for our country to be unified, we must respect the office. The Office of the President of the United States. The statements I’ve heard about Mr. Obama since the race has heated up has shown anything but respect for the office. Even the way that the media refers to him reflects this: I was 16 months old when President Kennedy was assassinated, so I’ve been aware of media coverage of nine presidents, and never in my memory have I not heard a reporter refer to a sitting president as “Mr. Something” or “President Something”. With President Obama, I seldom hear the media refer to him as anything but “Obama”. Perhaps this seems like a trivial distinction, but I feel it reinforces the undertone of disrespect for a man who did indeed have true ideals and hopes of unifying the parties, and unfortunately realized that neither side was particularly interested in doing so. Many of his hopes and dreams died when he saw that sad light.

I am sick of it. I will not be one of those people talking about moving to Canada, mostly because it’s too cold there. I will stay here and vote my conscience and see what happens. But I am stating that I am sick of the divisiveness. I am sick of the myth of the liberal media. I am sick of all of it. I cannot discuss it with MKL, because we don’t see eye to eye, and we know we will not change one another’s minds. I know this hatred is effecting me. It is worsening my depression. I should stop watching. But I feel that that is just turning away because I can’t change it. I want to understand what’s going on. I want to know the truth. WHERE IS THE TRUTH? I don’t know where to look for it anymore.

So I will keep watching. I will keep reading. I will listen to the Democratic Convention to see if the rhetoric there is equally as hateful. I hope that in the debates – assuming Mr. Trump chooses to participate – it becomes evident that Mr. Trump has nothing but attack in him, that his political inexperience is highlighted – because to be a political leader, having political experience IS important – and that he does not form sentences that actually have any meaning. If I were a serious drinker, I’d have myself a game of a shot every time he says something along the lines of “they love me”, “believe me”, “I know more than anybody”, or the words “incredible”, “amazing”, or “huge”. Perhaps I’ll make it a water shot game.

But it saddens and ages me to see our tenuous racial, social, and gender unity shattered by people who are watching a bully take charge, and feeling that bullying is now okay because of it. It’s one thing to be politically correct. It’s another thing to speak your mind. And it’s yet another thing to truly believe in equality and justice. Right now,  it seems we are just watching a train wreck, rubbernecking at the devastating accident occurring before our eyes, unable to look away.

We cannot look away. If we do, we let hate win, and it is the end of all of us. I am a little too young to be an old hippie, but I still believe in the messages of that movement.

Peace and love are the only answers. Fear and hatred will lead us only to the end of days all the more rapidly than we would have arrived in the first place.

IMG_8848

Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “”Unless the Virgin Mary appears to me on a piece of toast and asks me to vote for the guy, I’m not going to do it.” — CNN reporter Ana Navarro referring to Mr. Trump (This last part of this quote may not be verbatim – I tried to get it down while I watching it.)

Daily gratitudes:
Head butts, snuggles, and spooning from Mr. Man

 

#republicanconvention #acountryintrouble #notimeforhate

 

Captive Lunacy

The lady lifts
Her languid hand
And sets the moon adrift.

She does not care
For patterns,
Just a swift
Fleeting nocturne
Swirling in the shuttered air.

Her touch a mere caress,
a finger’s breath of time,
a lush swirl of spare
Feelings used to lift
A dismal crescent to new heights
Of slightly stilted madness
Through a softly pulsing rhyme.

I watched “Sunset Boulevard” tonight.  Familiar with it?  William Holden?  Gloria Swanson? 1950? Black and white?  Yes? No?  It was on the Bonnet Channel tonight. 

I remember the first time I saw it.  I was in New York City staying at my usual hotel at 34th and Lex.  I saw it after a long day of meetings and I was enthralled.  It was one of those films that I’d heard about from my Mother since childhood – the line “I’m ready for my close-up” was commonly heard around our house.  It just took on a whole new significance when I finally saw the film.

Viewing it tonight, it took on a different quality for me.  Perhaps that’s the mark of a good movie – it can somehow match its message to your mood, as if it holds some universal hidden code that is only revealed to you piece by piece when you’re ready for it.

Tonight, I was caught up with the madness of the character of Norma Desmond.  Her obsession with staying young, with staying the star, with ensuring that her public still noticed her, with her devotion to living in the past and with her frantic desperation of staying in control of William Holden, her insanity around her “love” for him.  It was a brilliant portrayal by Gloria Swanson – even if she perhaps did ham it up a bit in spots.  I was so entranced by her and the message of madness that I paid very little attention to William Holden’s character, which is surprising as he has become one of my more favorite actors from the ’50s.

If you’ve seen the film, you know how it ends.  In fact, if you’ve seen the beginning of the film, you probably know how it ends.  But if you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you – as long as you promise to watch it.  (Go.  Go on!)  It’s a worthwhile way to spend a chilly evening, and as our world spins crazily around these days, it’s a voyeuristic view inside the mind of a madwoman.

And heaven knows there are too many of those roaming loose these days.

Chinooks.

They happen in Montana, in Alaska, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  And they happen here.

Strong, warm winds that can raise the temperature by 30 degrees in a matter of hours, that can turn a foot of snow into a mudpile in half a day.

That can create knee-weakening migraines in strong women.  That can cause sleeplessness that makes a morning bed look like a tornado roared through overnight.  That can make the general population irritable as a porcupine in a hurricane.

Their arrival is heralded by a unique cloud ridge that perches behind the mountains.  If you didn’t know what you were seeing, you’d think that a huge storm was coming in.  But if you thought that, you’d be mistaken.

There are similar wind phenomenon across the world.  I thought that they were essentially all the same thing, but research has shown me that they are all characterized by slight, yet significant, differences in areas of origin, flow patterns, and the resultant changes to the atmosphere that they cause.

The Diablo Wind, a strictly California breeze, sucks the humidity from the air and increases the risk of fire danger by enhancing the updraft heat from existing sparks.  It is strongest on mountaintops, complementing its companion, the Santa Ana wind, which thrives in the California canyons.

The Santa Anas, common in late fall and winter in Southern California and Baja, can be hot or cold, but are known for blowing strong enough to clear the smog from Los Angeles – a herculean feat.  Strongest at sunrise and sunset, they, like the Chinooks, are known as a disruptive force of emotional nature.  And if you’ve had a big night on the town, they can contribute to a whale of a hangover.

The Foehn Winds, also known as snow-eaters, and seemingly the original version of Chinooks, are found in central Europe, and contribute to the milder, warmer climate of those countries.  The Foehn wind has the honor of being the first subject of research on the psychological, nay psychotic, impact of wind on the human spirit, by 19th-century physician Anton Czermak.  While not clinically confirmed, Fohnkrankheit (Foehn-sickness) can be seen as an indication on German-made aspirin bottles.

The Foehn winds are known as Zonda Winds in Argentina, Lyvas winds in Greece, Bergwind in South Africa, Favonio in Italy, Hnúkaþeyr in Iceland, and the Nor’West Arch (most commonly occurring in summer) in New Zealand.  New Zealand environmental scientist Neil Cherry stated, “About 10% of people affected by the nor’wester feel elated and wonderful.  But the rest feel depressed, irritable, and lacking energy. People feel they can’t cope with everyday things…There is irrational anxiety and a sense of foreboding.”  Huh.  Maybe that’s why a friend was telling me yesterday that he had a general feeling of unease.   Not that we’re in New Zealand, but it seems the same principle applies to these winds in all countries.

(Please check out other wonderful works from this artist, Annette Abolins, at www.abolinaart.com.)

While I can’t find clinically validated research online regarding the impact of wind on mental health, it’s clear that it’s been noted all over the world, and the “myth” that wind causes unusual behavior has been perpetuated in modern-day film and literature.  The winds create positive ions, which do have a tendency to make people feel “bad”.  Even without documentation, I know the Chinooks have effected me since I moved here, and I see that they effect Kelsea as well.  

The only time I was ever able to feel a sense of peace and purpose to the wind was after I started sailing – with that newfound love came an understanding of the wind as something positive and powerful that can help us move through life.  Since the Captain’s passing, however, that feeling has departed as well.

Native American mythology considered the wind to be a living being that communicated with those who would chose to hear its unearthly voice, such as shamen and medicine men.  As I feel that my feet are kicking up dust at the beginning of a shamanic path these days, perhaps it is something I need to think more about, to journey on.

I am sure that any wisdom I could gain from the wind spirits would be beneficial – perhaps lesseing my desire to take an automatic weapon to stupid drivers, which is how a lot of my irate emotions manifest on Chinook Days such as today.

Please pardon the kitteh’s french.  Unfortunately, it sounds a lot like what I was saying this morning.  Think I’ll take some duct tape with me when I go pick Kelsea.

November 2022
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