Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Symphonies On the Sand

One Blade's Delicate Touch
Windy Waves
When I was very young--probably four and a half--my mother went to the hospital to deliver my sister. It was early July and, as my parents already had three children, I and my siblings were dispersed among the relatives. I stayed with my father's sister's family about twenty minutes from home. They had a girl two years older than me which seemed then like a decade instead of a couple dozen months. Suffice it to say I was never comfortable in that household. Even less so when a tornado was predicted during my stay. My mother, I was certain, would perish in these winds. Would be taken from me not for just a few days but forever. I envisioned her being swept up into the roiling black sky like Dorothy's house and all her belongings. My mother did not and she and my new sister arrived home safely and I should have recovered from this trauma.
I did not.

Stipples and Grooves
My next encounter with high winds was during a family camping trip. They tore through the state park as we were trying to set up the huge tent that would house us all--now numbering nine. It was an impossible task and after enduring my father's rantings, curses and fits of rage we gathered back into the station wagon and spent the night in a hotel room. Another trauma indelibly etched into my soul.

Feather Strokes
Early into our marriage my husband and I opened our flower business. Two years later, when success seemed ensured, we took the plunge and a large loan to move to a larger space. We hired an architect (big money for us) to design the style of the exterior. He didn't change much except the colors and beautiful new awnings with our business name proudly displayed on them. Two months later a storm blew through town. Tornadoes touched down in several places but spared the downtown. The winds however were not so kind. They ripped our beautiful new awnings to strips of pathetic canvas; wrenched the metal frames as though they were the bones of bird wings.

Contemporary Improv
Southwest Florida is often besieged by high winds off the Gulf of Mexico and this morning was one of those times. Walking the beach brought to the surface all these events that still simmer at the bottom of my soul and cause my heart to pound. I want to fight back. I want to fight back in a way as huge as the waves that roiled into shore but I have no idea what it is that raises my hackles. The wind and the waves get more intense and I get more uptight.

Then I get to the turn in my walk and look down. There on the sand are tiny patterns made by the wispy blades of saw grass that protect the beaches from the winds. You wouldn't think flora so delicate could protect an entire dune but they do because there are so many of them. Some blades stand erect, others are broken and bent and then there are the ones that have lost their utility but even in their withering are gracefully curled. All of them make these patterns in different ways...feathers, staccato pecks and sweeping swirls.

Mixed Media
All of this to remind me that it is the details, the small notes that dance to the spirit of the wind, that really matter.

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