Life, as Told by Wind

On the day my sister was born, my father watched a typhoon blow cars across the hospital parking lot. As my mother’s breath raged in and out and in and out and her womb pressed out and out and out, he sat and observed the dance of hard metal impacting and spinning, appearing almost gentle from a distance. Those idiots, he thought, forgot their emergency break. The irony was his own personal storm that would spin him slowly out of control over the course of his years as a dad.

My parents were actually brought together by the wind. My mother, sun kissed and golden from the inside out, was windsurfing her way through Guam’s surf scene. I imagine the white bubbles trailing behind her as she arched over the ocean like the sun, pushed right up to his rocky shores.

Upon arriving in Maui I was four years old but can recall three things. That it was night, that there were bright yellow foot prints leading from the plane to the terminal and then there was that unforgettable salty-sweet, moist Maui air. Anyone whose been to Maui could tell you that the moment you get off the plane the wind greets you with a big warm hug and whispers into your ear “I love you so much already.” I would come to know this wind like a watchful elder who chooses their words carefully and are not to be ignored.

There are winds that takes things away and winds that tell you something new is coming, they appear similar but if you listen closely theres the difference. Both of these will stop me dead in my tracks and I’ll pause to feel whether its a pull or a push. Thats how you know.

Certain winds show up just to mess things up so you can put them together again. You’ll wake up to find leaves, branches, lawn chairs, relationships, pride and good habits simply torn apart and strewn everywhere. It feels like the times when your mom pulls all your discarded toys and books from beneath the bed and into the center of the room and calls it cleaning.

And then sometimes the wind lays flat. The trees only movement is the pulse of the earth, the oceans movement is its own orbital sway. Air and Earth. Air and Water. These are the days that with the absence of the wind we are reminded that we are surrounded by amazing, welcoming waters, but we are also reminded that we are surrounded by two mountains and nothing else and that this isolated valley can sometimes leave us wanting more.

It was on one of these still days that we poured my father into the sea. Not a particle displaced, one smooth and milky ribbon of ash came from my hands straight into spinning waters below. If there was supposed to be a release in that moment. There wasn’t. The wind just wasn’t right.

It’s when the Kona Winds blow, that I swear the world is spinning backwards. It’s a peculiar sensation to see airplanes fly in the opposite direction and watch the trees bend against their own curves. During these days my curtains indulge inward, twisting violently like a man whose been angered for no particular reason. These days are unsettling and sometimes smoky days with volcanic air finding their way here. This would be fire and air meeting.

As a young pregnant bride, I watched the winds tease giant, dark, ominous clouds on my wedding day. Pushing, pushing, the rain would come but so would the music and the laughter and the color white and sweet cake with that the promise that marriage would always be a bit of all these things. As a mother I wish I could say I have sat down and taught my children to play and pray to the wind, but instead I gave birth to water and fire and their individual connection and meaning to elements will develop on its own over time.

When I die, an old woman in both body and soul, wait for a windy day. One that pulls, please. Let it take me as far as it can. Let it spread me over the earth and turn me to mud when it rains. Let the trees draw me into its branches waving in the wind. When the lightning strikes upon it, you can find me in the smoke that unfurls from its sparks and you may feel me in the magnetized air.

I’ll be there as the wind, giving hugs and whispering messages of love.

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