(Published Oct. 5, 2022 as Newsletter No. 1)
October 5, 2022. Out my window, green leaves still cling to the trees but the lake is roiling, breakers crashing on the shore. The autumn wind has arrived.
During the day, I watch. The bird feeder swing wildly. Twigs tumble across the lawn. Ring-billed gulls perform acrobatics in the air currents.
But at night—at night, I hear it. And when I can only hear it, I find myself identifying with ancient nomads who lived in yurts, listening to the voice of God.
Did I just write that? Voice of God? Seems like it—the roar of someone in charge. If the wind picks up while I'm asleep, I'm suddenly wide awake. It's unsettling because, unlike surf breaking on the shore, it has no rhythm. It shifts and gusts unpredictably. Something bumps against the house. What are You doing out there? In 2015, the wind ripped down an outdoor ceiling fan and tore off roof shingles. In 2017 and 2019, it hurled massive waves into our fragile shoreline bank.
Did you know that, early on, the ancient Greeks used winds to define the four compass points, connecting them with the four seasons? Boreas, the north wind, was old man winter. Notus, from the south, was the hot breath of summer. From the east (more or less), Euros brought the dreary rains and tornados of autumn. Gentle Zephyrus delivered spring from the west.
Wind complicates. It turns snowfall into a blizzard. It turns a dropped match into a wildfire. It whips the seas up into hurricanes and houses up into tornados.
But clever humans figured out how to harness wind power. As early as 5000 B.C.E. sailboats traveled on the Nile. Then windmills were used to grind grain.
Today, I’m harnessing the image of wind to draw you into a conversation.
I live in a red-painted log cabin on the shore of Lake Ontario with my ancient and needy husband and my ancient and demanding parrot. It is our Monastery of Artful Delights, packed with art and artifacts from around the world, as well as all the art supplies a crafty person could long for. The solitude is sweet, but the isolation can make a person strange. (What gray in my hair? What weeds? I grow herbs and wildflowers!)
That’s where you, dear reader, come in. For years you have indulged my storytelling, challenged my philosophy, inspired my research, and corrected me when I’ve gone astray. I’m trying this email format so that you won’t have to go hunting for me. I need you, my family, my old pals, my unmet friends, my secret sharers.
Has the wind ever frightened you? I know at least one of my subscribers just lived through Hurricane Ian—what did that sound like? Shoot me a line so I know you’re there.
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Books from Mad in Pursuit and Susan Barrett Price: KITTY'S PEOPLE: the Irish Family Saga about the Rise of a Generous Woman (2022)| HEADLONG: Over the Edge in Pakistan and China (2018) | THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) | TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) | PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008). Available at Amazon.