or A Nook in the Middle of Nowhere
The wind chimes are jangling frantically, chaotically. In a gentle breeze, their tones ring true, but not in a blast like this one. The wind is back in force after a few days' lull, this time heralding a cold(ish) front on the horizon. From the kitchen, I can hear it battering at the windows. The damper on the vent above the stove "chk"s constantly, like the hi-hat on a drum set. The glass in the porch light rattles. The slight gap between the front door and its frame (which for reasons I won't bore you with can't be properly weather-stripped) whistles, anticipating the tea kettle, which is just coming to a boil.
I'm curled up on the bench by the kitchen window, watching the wind scything through the garden, and am intrigued by how irregular its pattern is. One tree is quivering along its full length, its upper branches whipping wildly. Eight feet away, the tree closer to the house is almost still. The autumn sage and rue along the east wall are all but flattened; the sand cherry beside them dances frenziedly. Right next to it, in the corner, another sand cherry waves a bit in rhythm but otherwise seems unaffected, while the oregano seed heads in the bed across the path swirl in fits and starts. I am always realizing anew just how tiny the "micro" in micro-climate can be. The garden has all the dead corners, active spaces, open sweeps, channels, and funnels of a pinball machine.
Still intrigued, I pick up my mug of tea and walk out into the garden. After righting a footstool and rescuing a seat cushion from the autumn sage (or alternatively, rescuing the autumn sage from a seat cushion), I start around the circle path. My hair whooshes into an Einsteinian mop; my eyes are half-shut against blowing dust, and one hand covers the mouth of my mug. I approach the south wall and kneel down, wanting to inspect the tarragon in the central bed for frost damage. (None yet.) As soon as my head drops below the height of the wall—it's quiet.
It's so quiet.
For whatever reason, this is one of those spots that the wind—or at least, this wind—can't reach. In the middle of a windstorm, in the middle of a garden path, it is warm and calm and sheltered. If I stretch out my hands in any direction, my fingertips will brush blowing leaves. Above the wall, tree tops reel drunkenly. But right here, in this little two-foot area out in the open, the wind doesn't come.
Astonished, I sit cross-legged on the path and try a sip of tea. Sir Marley, who has been curled up under the sand cherry (the blasé one, not the frenziedly dancing one), uncurls and stretches laconically before moseying over to rub his head against my hand. (The one holding the hot mug of tea, of course.) I begin to understand his smugness—the extra smugness that doesn't just come from his being a cat. Even though none of this is my doing, I still feel rather pleased with myself, like a child building a fort out of a blanket and a chair and hiding gleefully in plain sight.
Tea finished, I brave the wind again to return to the house, while Sir Marley takes over my spot. I right the footstool again and rescue the cushion, this time weighting it down with a rock. I duck into the kitchen, lock the door, and settle back into the nook by the window. The door frame whistles, the glass rattles, the vent "chk"s, the wind chimes jangle.
On the path in the garden, Sir Marley curls back up to sleep.