17:19. Before a walk in the moonlight, the boys and I put the fence back on its hinges. We are unable to open it all the way however, short of digging a trench in the gravel driveway to allow it to swing, which we don’t make the time to do. Something about it is askew.
Later, when T’s home, he tells me it had been long off its hinges, the concrete post having been bashed and thus slightly tilted by some passing machine, and he had not fixed it yet, in the meantime having removed it and stood it off to the side, where it usually rests in its open position.
The wind had merely blown it down from standing, and it must have skittered to rest perfectly in line with the driveway’s edge. So the imagined conscientious passerby now becomes the unconscientious passerby, in this version of the tale.* And the wind remains the innocent element of destruction, but now milder, and also the careful artist, laying the scene to imagined rights, a damaged gate barring the way horizontally instead of vertically.
The Inuit once believed that harsh winds were caused by a giant orphaned baby who had been horrifically mistreated by a village of Weak Sky people. In his extreme suffering and turmoil the baby was eventually transformed to pure spirit, and became the ferocious force that ripped villages and trees apart.
The Inuit creation tales storybook** does not skim over evil. It doesn’t always make for a peaceful feeling at bedtime, but it feels a truthful teaching about the nature of the world not always being kind. It seems to think of evil as originating mostly within humans, and whenever the forces of nature seem to act violently, it is explained more often than not as being because a mistreated human spirit has been transformed, and lives within that aspect of it.
One day during the week, feeling unwell, I lay out in a hammock under the Tree, watched its long and strong black limbs waving jerkily beneath the flying clouds. The hammock’s fabric buffeted from side to side, stretched beneath me, and I thought: massive tree of linden, solid house of stone, we are so lucky. We are so safe, from the weather at least. For now. We take so much for granted.
In olden times, just trying to survive a wild and windy day would take up all of our energy. Rebuilding broken structures, the fragile roofs over our heads, finding food.
In the far north, a wild wind could mean the end of survival.
Here and now, in the heart of France, the hexagon’s most central place, it means only a few untethered outdoor household items strewn about, a few too-early blossoms tossed and torn.
But always, the sun returns, between the winds and rains, and shines its golden rays like a balm for the machine-addicted, screen-addicted over-indoored; its light like music for long-shuttered eyes.
Come out and play, it seems to say.
(Process notes: This post was unpublished when I had a sudden whim to change the title, which was simply the first line of the piece, so likely went missing from view, after I first published it around 18:20. I’d meant to fix it and repost right away, but my sister called just then; we had a good long talk, then it was family movie night, so I didn’t get to it till now, at 23:00. There was a time about a year ago that I used to not answer the phone while writing, waiting till a time more “convenient for me.” These days I nearly always answer the moment it rings, if I hear it, for family and close friends. You never know when you might not speak to them again. I’m very glad I answered the last time my late mother called, for example. Anyway, here it is again. I publish it with the same title after all, just removing the first line instead, to avoid repetition.)
*previous post about the fence: Earlymarching in Auvergne
**previous post about the Inuit creation tales storybook: Book review/suggested reading: How Things Came to Be: Inuit Stories of Creation
Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Auvergne, France. Thank you for reading. ❤︎