Geese huddle along the banks of the river, necks tucked down into their bodies, their webbed feet invisible beneath the surface as they drift in silent communion with the fast-flowing water upon which they float.
The trees bow their branches as the wind howls its woeful tale of the war and violence, sickness and death, poverty and grief it has witnessed on its journey around the world.
It is the time at the edge of dark when dawn races to rid the sky of night. Beaumont and I walk into the wind. Sky dark and brooding above. Pavement slick and wet beneath our feet.
It is raining. A rare occurrence in January here on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies. The snow is quickly disappearing. The river ice is thawing.
A woman walks on the other side of the bridge. Shoulders hunched forward. Hands in pockets. Coattails flapping around her knees. We nod our heads towards each other as we pass as if to say, “Are we the only crazies out in this wind?” Her mouth is set in a grim line. Her body taut with determination as she walks with the wind at her back, upper body angled forward as if being pushed by an unseen hand.
A dried October-dead leaf spins past. Beaumont tugs on the leash. Gives a bark as if to say, “Come back! I want to play with you!”
I hold the leash steady in my hands. I cannot let him pull too much. There is ice beneath my feet. I must watch where I’m going.
The wind doesn’t care about my concerns for safety. It sends a handful of dried October leaves flying past. Beau strains harder on the leash. I pull harder to bring him back to my side. Our eternal dance of tug-of-war. Pull, drawback. Pull, drawback.
And the wind howls.
The geese huddle and float. One stretches up and flaps its wings, honks and then settles back down onto the water’s surface.
The trees bend and sway in a riotous dance of swinging arms and bodies contorting into the shape of the wind as it storms through.
And the wind howls as if with every breath it is emptying the woeful memories of all it has witnessed on its travels around the world into the dancing branches of the trees. Once free of their gloomy presence, it catapults itself into the sky to cavort again with Mother Nature.
And the trees gather the stories of the wind into their sturdy trunks and in the magic of photosynthesis, the wind’s stories are transformed into oxygen so that all life on earth can continue on.
And the wind howls and the river flows and the geese huddle and Beaumont and I walk into the wind until it’s time to turn back and let nature push us eagerly towards home.
It was a wild walk with the wind this morning. And now, I am back at my desk, looking out at the river and the trees. The wind has stopped howling. The sky is blue and the geese have taken flight.
All is well in Mother Nature’s flow.