blows – verb \ˈblōz\
: to be in motion
: to move with speed or force
: to move or run quickly
: to send forth a current of air or other gas
I arrive home from a walk, and the wind beats me to the front door. We’ve raced around the neighborhood, the wind dancing in front of me and behind me like the energetic four-year-old black Lab who lives in our house. Heading east on South Street, the wind practically carried me on its back. Walking west on Walnut, the wind and I wrestled and struggled.
My city smells different on a windy day as the air blows across the plump peonies and tickles my nose with their fragrance. The loamy mustiness of fresh laid mulch conjures hot summer days at the county fair, taking turns with my brothers in the cattle barn lifting dung with a pitch fork from the mulch beds where the cows lie. Then, I’m back in the present as someone boils hotdogs for lunch. Though I don’t eat them, their saltiness carried along on the wind prompts a growl from my stomach.
I twist along Harvard Terrace, and old glory greets me, whipping in the wind majestically. The first falling cottonwood seeds are swept up toward perpetuity as the air blows on and on and on. The wind gusts, making music with the hollow clonking and tinny tinkling of bamboo and stainless steel chimes. The birds and the bees rise and fall to the beat, their flights turned choppy in the bluster.
Newly unfurled leaves hold on tight as branches bow and wave to His Highness The Wind. I bring my laptop out to the front porch where the tempest brings cooler temperatures swirling through the screens. Welcome relief on this warm, muggy day.
“The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.” — Ecclesiastes 1:6
Just the other day, my oldest stepson and I talked about the efficiency of wind power, how it surpasses solar and other alternatives sources. It’s expensive, though, he said, and when I looked, I found a typical residential system can cost as much as $65,000. We wouldn’t even be a candidate with our small, urban lot. The problem with wind power is that you can’t store the electricity it creates, I tell the boys, repeating what I’ve heard. A quick Google search reveals that storage is indeed a key concern. Storing electricity after it is generated is not impossible; it’s just so expensive that other storage methods–like water behind a dam or natural gas in a pipe–are preferable. And having flexibility built into the grid provides even more energy efficiency. Wind is used when and if it’s generated, relying on output from other sources to be generated or halted to fill in the gaps. Not that wind power is ubiquitous, though the U.S. has installed enough wind power to supply electricity to roughly 18 million American homes.
“The wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” — Psalm 103:16
The wind blows, and the skies darken, and I wonder what it would be like to harness all the swirling that has gone on around us the past few weeks. There’s been a lot of huffing and puffing, and I hope we will be left standing when the wind dies down. Friends have fallen, boys have crossed into another year, infections have taken their toll, and misunderstandings now resolved lingered too long. We can’t store the euphoria of our highs to see us through the lows. We just have to adjust our production and hope our systems are flexible enough to keep the lights on.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” — John 3:8
That’s all we have. The sweet smell of peonies, old glory waving, the music of the chimes, and the hope of the future floating on the air around us.
What’s YOUR word of the week? Drop it into the comments section, or share it on this week’s Facebook post. If you post about your word on your blog, please slip the link into a comment below so I can stop by and join you.