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Northwest Wind

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I wake in the morning
to the shrill crying of the northwest wind
shuddering the shutters of my little green cabin
and bending the coniferous trees in half.
Clouds race each other in the sapphire sky,
urgently pushed forward by the howling wind.
Golden rays slice through the frosted windowpane
bathing me and my patched quilt in a tawny halo.
The sun is the only soul still in the driving, screeching wind.
I shiver into an overcoat and
stumble into moccasins damp with the morning dew,
blowing on my hands to generate heat in this chilly northwest wind.

I open the screen door and feel a gust try to float me away.
But grabbing onto the splintered railing, I stay,
rooted on the porch like a wizened spruce tree,
too strong for the wind’s selfish games.
Through a tiny knothole between the teetering birches and pines,
I see the whitecaps breaking on the blue-green lake,
fanning out wide and seething as they hit the sandy shore.
Though faint like the sound of a doe’s hooves clicking across
a carpet of moss, I hear the crash of the waves against
the sturdy crib dock, as boards and rocks heave with angst
from the weight of the waves.

Before my eyes, a cedar tree does the limbo,
bending until its branches covered with sweet-smelling cedar leaves
brush by my nose.
I wait for the poor fellow to snap back and then I make my way, down the stirring dirt path to the blustery beach below.
Sand dances like tiny ballerinas across the great dandelion beaches urged into waltzes by the ever-eager wind.
Seagulls drunkenly stagger into the merciless waves,
unable to balance on the whirling, twirling beach.
I watch as witless terns attempt to fly, across the shore
and over the shallow water for fish tossed up
by the tumultuous lake, but the wind’s fierce hand
merely pulls them back.
Like a hell-raising demon, the wind shrieks,
as I fearlessly step onto the dock,
feeling weathered boards groan beneath my feet.
My nose catches the familiar whiff of cedar, balsam, spruce, and pine
all jumbled together in a fresh woodsy scent.
Waves try to splash higher and higher onto the dock,
eager to sweep me out into their churning chaos,
but I laugh at their attempts.
I know the water like an old Indian canoe guide,
know its frigid temps and uncontrollable moods,
its shallow shores and impassible depths.

My concern is for my town trip, and I squint into the clear sky,
searching for the azure path between the islands
that I will skim across in my old boat.
Foamy whitecaps and angry currents hide my usual tame surface,
the pane of blue glass ceded to a jumble of crests and troughs.
The wind bellows again, pleased to see that it has blocked my way.
I will not take the chance and try to ride the rebellious waves.
For I am too smart and know,
that the lake is at the mercy of the wind
when the Northwest Wind blows.



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