The sky was cloudy on August 27th, twenty-two years ago. On the 29th a storm was brewing. By the 31st it had become what Texans call a twister.
He didn't know any better. It was his first time in this world. He stayed inside for the next few weeks and slept.
18 months later he was learning to walk. It was a whole new experience to have to balance himself. He had to lean into the strong wind. Sometimes it would knock him on his ass. A cloth diaper and plastic pants to dampen the impact. Sometimes it would knock him on his face from behind, his tears would wash the dirt from his face. He began to develop reflexes to the slight change in wind to keep on his feet.
Age 5 he found himself in Oklahoma running around like a banshee, despite the wind. His muscles now seemed unaware of the resistance. He knew nothing different than the first day of his life. He couldn't say it was harsh and unrelenting. It was strong and consistent.
age 12 He began to realize that the wind was following him. People around him had no idea what he was talking about when he spoke. They couldn't hear him over the howl of the wind, yet they didn't seem affected by it. He couldn't understand them for the roar in his ears. He found music to be a distraction, and he could crank it up to drown out the wind.
Age 15 the wind picked up. He now noticed it was harder and harder to get up out of bed. Harder still to get around. He would fall down for the count multiple times a day. Tears washed face again. Now, when people spoke he had to read lips. Despite the constant practice he couldn't get the hang of it.
Age 17. The wind was blowing with the weight of the world against his shoulders. He decided to let it blow him elsewhere. He pulled up stakes and caught a gust that took him a ways from home. It felt good to move and let the wind take him. The landing was a different story. He had sea legs. Getting his balance again took almost 3 months, and on top of being disoriented, the wind was now blowing harder than ever before. Head down he braced himself against it and carried on. The new hard wind dried up the wells of his tears. It was too loud now to consider the outside world. He spent a lot of time in his head. He was unaware of the major exercise he was getting with this new load of resistance. Not to say he bore it well. His back began to arch from leaning into the wind.
Age 18. He again decided to uproot. He landed in Utah for a short reprieve. But before he even tried his footing there he was swept up and blown south. He landed on the Mississippi. The wind had switched directions and soon thereafter it had doubled in strength. He hardly left his house, much less his bed. After 8 months, he was all but beat, but he decided to give it another go around. He packed up and headed back to Utah. This routine of settling and uprooting was becoming easier and easier. He was certain he had a knack for it and contemplated a way to capitalize on it. He was coming to terms with the possibility that he was going to live this way the rest of his life.
He raised his head up, and looked around... just to be sure. Here he was, 21 years old. He was no better off now than when he first took flight. It was dawning on him that he might have taken the wrong approach. He tried running from the wind one more time. The wind blows harder in Alaska.
Now after 22 years of being blown around and held down he has made it his goal to use his 22 years of conditioning in a more effective manner. He's finding that he is exceptional at reading faces and lips now. He has also made progress in deciphering the muddled tones of those around him. Instead of carrying his life possessions on his back, He decided to set up camp and dig in for the long haul. He is taking on tasks one at a time. Shedding the weight of all his worries has given him the extra energy to get where he want to be. He's moving in leaps and bounds. Using the wind to his advantage. He is facing it head on, noticing that he can stand more upright when he doesn't cower from it. The force of it is now straightening his backbone. He is learning to rest from time to time, and he's found a good way to do that is on his knees.
All isn't resolved. If anything he's gotten a late start and is just now making motions to catch up.
All isn't sunshine and song. He still falls in his ass. He still gets knocked on his face. He still wonders if the wind will ever subside.
I'm sure it wont. And I think that is a good thing. If, after 22 years of leaning into the wind , it were to sudden cease. He would be starting all over again. Learning to stand up without having to lean-Sea legs all over again. Plugging his ears against the prickle of unmuffled words. I wouldn't wish it on him. He would spend years on his face, trying to figure out where his strength will come from, spending what strength he has left to lift himself up. Only to eat shit again, and again.