Western Wind

March blew into New Mexico.

Grit in my teeth.  Tangles in my hair.  I cursed under my breath—the same feeling I had as a little girl growing up in western Kansas, but without words strong enough to push back against it.

Out running errands fighting the car door at each stop it felt like a gale, but according to the Beaufort Wind Scale  was probably only a breeze.  Moderate, fresh, or strong—no matter—it was enough to lift dirt, leaves, and litter into the air.

At eighteen (hundreds of miles from home, in the hills and trees of eastern Kansas, where they don’t know wind the way we do on the wide open plains) my freshman English class analyzed a poem about a lovesick boy.  He longed for the return of spring and his girlfriend.  Wind was the sign he was waiting for. It was a revelation, an unexpected combination—wind and romance.

But it stayed with me.  Each year, hunkered down in the house, waiting for the dust and pollen to settle I pull out the tattered textbook, filled with penciled notes, and turn to the early pages to reread the words:

Western wind, when will thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?
Christ! if my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!
-Anonymous (c. 1500)




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