I’ve been trying to spend time outside each day, even if it’s only to sit and watch the birds jostle each other at the various feeders. And I’ve been thinking about wind — always a presence in Oklahoma.
If I’d had this word yesterday, it certainly would have been in yesterday’s post. The word is ventifact. While the precise term refers to stones shaped by the wind, so many things are artifacts of the wind. Certainly Tree, from yesterday’s post, is .
But the smooth polyhedron of this rose-coloured rock appeals to me. What did it look like before water or the wind cut it loose from its mother boulder, and wind pushed it around? Was it rougher? Larger? How substantial a change shaped and polished it?
Obviously another metaphor, but one I like as well as Tree. The idea that even when I feel most isolated, I once belonged to something larger than myself — what I call The Web — and that the forces in my life I often feel beset by may well be making me more beautiful… Well, that’s another kind of elemental magic. I’m not beset. I’m a ventifact in the making .
It’s a thought that could only occur to me in the combination of sitting outside — and a long-time familiarity w/ rocks — and thinking about words, seeing them as physically connected to real life. Metaphors. Which is why, when one of my favourite former students wrote me not long ago, her heart cracked open by life and love and the growing pain of the two together, here is what I told her:
GO OUTSIDE! Take your favourite journal, a coloured marker or pen. A GOLD marker or pen. A set of coloured pencils or crayons. Find water. Sit by it. Take something special to eat, and a thermos or go-cup of something hot. Even if it’s 111 [yesterday's temperature ]. Take your inner child for a picnic. When you get there, just sit. In your car, on a bench, on a blanket on the grass. Then draw, write, doodle, colour. And think: big sky mind. The clouds come, the clouds go. But the sky remains. And the ventifacts beneath it…