Before moving to Texas, I would have said that freezing temperatures and snow were my least favorite weather.
It turns out I was wrong, because since moving to Texas, I have witnessed the most infuriating winds. I hate these winds. I hate them so passionately that it scares me at times. Sustained winds of 15 mph or more, gusts up to 40 mph or more. On Monday, we had sustained winds of up to 23 mph. There were isolated gusts up to 70 mph.
It’s not that I’m a stranger to wind. I spent much of my life in Florida, where winds meant storms, and storms were commonplace. These winds sometimes made me a little nervous, but I never hated them. They didn’t cause me any stress. I understood them, knew what they were all about.
Then I moved to Japan and experienced an entirely different wind. The karakaze (the “empty wind”) blows through Gunma in the winter, a strong wind so dry and so cold. I rode my bicycle to work, but not on days that the karakaze blew, because it was impossible. It was a struggle even to walk. And almost always, those days would be clear, sunny, bright. In Moriya, the city where I lived longest in Japan, there were also strong winds in the weeks preceding spring, but none quite like the karakaze.
I did not hate the karakaze. I considered it a nuisance, and I did not welcome it. At least it was not like the typhoons, destructive and accompanied by rain – but then, the typhoon winds were familiar to me. They were kin to the storm winds of Florida, brutal but never overly sinister. I never hated them either.
But this Texas wind, this wind that tears through the city – there is nothing familiar about it. It is not a companion of old; it is a tyrant, and I hate it. The Monday wind was the worst it has ever been. It loosened the sections of fence that had not been broken over Christmas. It ripped away patches of roofing paper, leaving more to beat against the roof even when the wind is not howling.
Today, a whisper of it is back. But even a whisper is enough. The unrepaired roof pounds at itself like a drum. The fence bends forward where it has come loose, threatening to break free if pushed too hard. Leaves from the churchyard behind our house swirl down into our yard, then back out again, carried away without thought. No birds take to the sky. If they do, they make little headway. The wind itself is loud, whooshing as it goes, leaving everything groaning and moaning in its wake.
And I hate it.
I know what has happened between now and then, and it’s so hard to explain. How can losing my daughter cause me to hate something as common as the wind?
I know also that it’s no good to worry about something I can’t control, and the weather certainly falls into that category. But even if I can’t control it, I have to deal with it. I have to deal with the damage it causes, with the madness it inspires as it shrieks around me.
And I must deal with the powerlessness it inspires.
I had thought that I was used to feeling powerless. That’s something else that comes with being one of the babylost. Control means nothing. But I have come to hate feeling powerless. I have grown so tired of feeling powerless. And here comes this tyrant wind again to remind me that power is nothing that I can claim. I have not chosen to give up control; it was never mine to begin with.
Must the feeling of being in control always be an illusion?
I can’t even control with the repairs will be made; that too is left in someone else’s hands. What can I do but sit and watch, powerless, as the wind thrashes around me and destroys that which I consider – for a time, anyway – to be in my care? This wind drives all sense of focus from me – all I can think of is what it’s doing and how helpless I am to do anything about it.
And I hate the control it has over me.
I hate that I hate feeling so powerless. I can’t let it go. I hate being at the mercy of this world, because it has no mercy.
That is what the tyrant wind tells me. That I can not stop it – or anything else – from taking that which I love. It reminds me that power is not mine.
And I hate it, because it speaks truth.
Hope is all I have. And even when the tyrant wind blows, hope whispers its message. It’s so hard to hear it. But I know that, when the wind stops, hope will still be there. The wind cannot blow that away.
Hope, too, speaks the truth. Power comes in different forms, varying degrees. To withstand the wind, to wait it out, to endure it – that is power of a kind.
When the wind is passed, hope will still be here. I will still be here. Weathered and worn, perhaps, but still here. Ready to pick up the pieces and put them back together and keep going.
Always, keep going.