Ready For Anything

With good reason, many Wisconsinites are agonizing over the blast of Siberian like cold passing through the region. Temperatures with the wind chill plummeted to 50 below zero in parts of the state last night, creating exasperating problems in our daily existence. We have descended downward to temperatures that could surely freeze hell over.

Dressed in the wool of two sheep, I found myself sweating before I finished feeding and watering the horses. At times, being over-prepared can be no better than being under-prepared. Sweating was my body’s voice of common sense, telling me to restore the balance between the outside and inside climates. Taking two sheep’s worth of sweaty wool clothing off was more of a relief than the warmth that consoled me at the wood stove. Extreme cold weighs heavy on the mind and body. Clothing adjustments will be made, a last minute decision to throw on a pair of ski goggles— borderline genius.

I am grateful for the bitter cold’s wide opening to feel compassion’s inexhaustible warmth. Folks are filling bird feeders, checking on the elderly and helping each other, two-legged and four, survive the cold. Duchess my 23 years wise Pinto mare, insists on standing outside. Even though I’ve hung two heat lamps in the shelter and laid down a good two feet of shavings on the floor. I did blanket her, more for my comfort than hers. She spent most of the night standing in the shelter of spruce trees bordering the pasture; out of the wind, underneath the light of stars, in a good two feet of snow. Who am I to argue against 23 years of horse sense?

I am also thankful that the jet of glacial cold is forecast to leave the area tomorrow afternoon. By the weekend, meteorologists predict the temperature to be in the upper thirties. Mother Nature’s playground is the weather and she has two pieces of equipment in it, swings and teeter-totters.

I am walking in two winters, one outside and one inside. How well I can balance the climate changes in each has intense implications on my life. Winter invites us to explore the hidden closets old thoughts get hung up in and forgotten. Temperature fluctuations outside, mood swings inside, both create chaotic conversation within us. We become uncomfortable but they are necessary to “feel” what we’re wearing. Adaptability is fundamental to restoring balance in one’s life. It is the sheer definition of preparedness— for anything!

Ride the Wind

Wind’s gift to us is movement. On days like today with sustained wind speeds between 20- 30mph and gusts of 50mph, its will to remain in motion is taking with it all that isn’t held down or onto. Its willpower is blowing wild and free over the open land. Add to that a 20-degree temperature and the attitudes of folks drop swiftly into negative territory on their gusts of disgust. They fret and fuss over the slightest exposure to the wind’s elemental power to create sacred motion.

Nature adapts and flows with the windy weather. Birds are staying perched in the cover of Spruce trees and my horses are assuming the sturdy, butt to the wind, position. I like the raw edge of a strong wind. It commands a keen awareness of body and mind. We don’t pay much attention to air until we feel it like when our breath is restricted by a cold or illness. Wind’s Spirit forces us to feel what goes unseen and unnoticed. The air is showing itself today and people are taking notice.

Our movement too can be blustery, messing up our tidy plans. Forced action like a wild wind can tangle, tatter and tear. Sometimes there’s no stopping where we are going. We have to let the Spirit of the wind carry us—surrender—to freedom’s rough and tumble ride. If we can do that we are carried to our destination.

To make it through the next wind advisory, hold onto your hat and your heart. Wait-a-day or two, the winds of change will change, everything in sacred motion, even the wind.