If spring were simply defined by daffodils, dragonflies, and ducklings, then the season would remain quite dubious around here. This year, I’ve seen all of these in early February, confirming temperatures aren’t the distinguishing factor for a West Texas division of time. As often as not, we play Bocce Ball on Thanksgiving, take a walk on Christmas Day, and grill out on St. Valentine’s.
In Lubbock, spring is all about the Wind. Not an unseen presence like the scent of perfume, but a powerful personality whose swagger is only stilled until he can catch his second wind. Muscular and robust, our Wind is quite the athlete, briskly scooping up silt and clay, and hurling them forward, like a shortstop turning a double play.
I grew up avoiding the Wind by staying inside, hoping to escape from this vexatious and confrontative neighbor, who pelleted grit into every passing smile. By closing the doors and fastening the blinds, I expected to minimize his reality. But the Wind remained omnipresent, finding his way into every fabric of my life.
Even indoors, the Tempest was there on the shelves of my favorite books, swirling like a cyclone amidst my mother’s bric-a-brac and our set of Encyclopedia Brittanica. When confronted by of this “shirt of sound”, Mr. Toad jumped out of “The Wind in the Willows” to roll underneath our octagonal coffee table for safety. The Wind and the Sun of Aesop’s fables struggled for dominance in the shadows across the wall. And hurrying to escape “the low wail of the wind,” Dorothy and Toto blew across our shag carpet, while our family Bible warned them that “The wind bloweth where it listeth.”
As my library swirled around me with increasing intensity, I sought solace in the soothing tunes of the AM/FM radio. Yet there on the air waves, Lynyrd Skynyrd wants me to “Call Him the Breeze,” Kansas reminds there is “Dust in the Wind,” and the Association stresses that “Everyone knows it’s Windy”. Thankfully, Seals and Croft promises that it will get better. In time, the summer breeze will make me feel fine.
I can’t escape the Wind. It is part of life here on the Plains.
In the same way, I cannot escape the winds of change taking place around me. Maybe I’ve been placed in this blustery place for such a time as this — to learn from the voice of this turbulent Teacher.
As the Wind exercises his strength on the flat prairie around me, I notice the trees bending to endure whatever Wind brings. Oaks, cedars and pecan trees weather years of Wind. They withstand because their roots deepen within. Hardship makes them stronger.
Dolly Parton once said, “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” If the Winds of change burst in with gusto this year, I pray that my roots are strong enough to withstand the storm. And in the meantime, I rejoice that “even the winds….obey Him” (Mark 4:41).