I stepped out into my yard this morning in search of a moment of peace and quiet, and settled onto our little swinging bench. It wasn’t half a second before the wind came up to play – it gently trailed its breezy fingers along my cheek and skipped through the strands of my hair. Up it swirled through the branches of the trees, till they too were dancing along to the slow and gentle tune of the wind. Through the branches little bits of sky were peeping, soft-lit clouds and a gentle light came streaming through the leaves. My hand instinctively reached out to meet the light, and was rewarded with the gentle warmth my skin had anticipated in its rays. Birds sang and fluttered from branch to branch, lilting and warbling to each other in that bird song that is sweet, gentle and then suddenly almost sad – how does a bird’s song evoke beauty or wistfulness when you stop and listen? But I did listen, and it reached into me and moved me. As I took in the little plot of earth I like to call my back yard, it struck me how alive everything is out of doors. Outside, I was not alone, surrounded by things – I was surrounded by life; my senses were almost taken by storm with the liveliness of the wind, the warmth of the sun, the expanse of the shimmering sky, the joy of the dancing trees, and the beauty in the birds’ song.
I looked back at the house I had recently come from, and noticed the contrast. There was no life in there – no wind to dance in my hair or plant butterfly kisses on my cheeks, no canopy of leaves that swayed and danced to the quiet song of the wind – how to describe its magical flow? Not a rhythm, or a dance, that follows the tune of the music. But like a kind of music itself; what else flutters, lilts, rolls down to the lowest point, then swirls and soars up to the highest clouds, grows in force like a gale, then softens to a whisper, and before you know it crescendos in a thundering wave; drawing in everything in its path it as it pulls, pulses and rolls? The lights inside a house give excellent light, true; but there are no live rays that caress you and envelop you with warmth or heat. The chairs I sit on indoors while practical, ergonomic, soft and even comfortably reclining, still don’t tickle like the grass between my toes, its blades gently giving way to the breeze. The breeze steadily streaming from a fan, while cool, still lacks the fresh playfulness of “real air,” the pleasing surprise as you feel the wind first coursing over your skin, then blowing your hair in your face or your hat off your head.
Peering through the trees in my little yard and over the fences into the great unknown, I felt like I had a window into the sky; a window that looked into a huge world flowing with life, simmering with magic when compared to that small space inside the walls behind me. A window that once opened, invited life to come blowing in and sweep me up in its dance. It brought to mind the story of little Diamond, and North Wind, and the window into his small drafty room through which she comes and invites him out into a bigger world.1 A world so incredibly big and amazing, yet which somehow we miss, forget to truly see, feel and experience. A world we rush through quickly in our little cars in order to get back inside houses and buildings to all those “important” things; a world that is not as “important” as The Real World, full of all those pressing things and business one has to attend to, of course. The book I had recently left behind came to mind, where a girl spoke of how much she loved the weather – any weather:
MacPhee made a little stamp of impatience and said something which was drowned first by Ransom’s laughter, and then by a great clap of wind which shook the window as if it would blow it in.
“What a dreadful night for them!” said Mrs. Dimble.
“I love it,” said Camilla. “I’d love to be out in it. Out on a high hill. Oh, I do wish you’d let me go with them, Sir.”2
Then I knew why I love being out in nature, and it made me long for rain.
1 1. At the Back of the North Wind, by George MacDonald
2 2. That Hideous Strength, by C.S. Lewis