Riding the Tailwind

We’ve had some windy days lately; if the air temperature is a month ahead of itself, the proverbial March Wind must be at least a month behind.  Wind always has symbolized the unseen, perhaps divine, perhaps immanent, power of the universe.  It seemed the essence of nature to the romantics, who saw the wind as the “trumpet of a Prophecy” (Shelley), a force that animates flowers to “[toss] their heads in sprightly dance” (Wordsworth), an awe-inspiring monarch who demands that his subjects, the trees, “bow down their heads” with “trembling” (C. Rossetti).

As I ride home this time of year with a tailwind, I feel like the wind itself, because I see the power and trembling all around me as I approach.  Along the trail green leaves newly dislodged, as well as some brown brittle leftovers from last winter, scuttle along just as Clement Moore described : “as dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly.”  They’re fleeing from me, running on ahead.  I am that hurricane!

Along the edge of the trail grasses wave, as well as the broader spikes of day lily leaves, the fat ovals of milkweed, and many others.  Most have paler undersides, which the wind exposes.  They nod in the direction I am going, as if pointing the way.

Beyond them shrubs and trees do the same.  The distinctive silvery leaves of Russian olive trees shimmer; maples and oaks lunge; tulip poplars find some of their blossoms dislodged.  Everything is a rush of motion and of sound as well.  It’s hard to hear the small noises of chain and pedal when there’s such commotion.

And the finest, most delicate gift of all comes in the scent of wild roses, which are out in their full glory right along with the wild blackberries (see the posting “Don’t Stop, but Smell the Roses,” 5/7/2010).  The strong gusts carry the roses’ perfume all over, broadcasting it far more widely and intensely than it carries in still air.  The whole length of the trail is infused with that fine, ultimate odor of spring.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2012.

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