harvesting the air…

There is a wind farm on either side of I-65 near Lafayette, Indiana and each time I drive through that patch of interstate I pine for those giant turbines. One summer day, I vow, I will stop at a little place I’ve seen from the road, a picnic shelter overlooking a man made lake, surrounded by cars streaming by and wind turbines turning, great arms swinging slowly singing some tune I think I ought to know, some rhythm I ought to recall but can’t because I have someplace to be. And then, as quickly as it appeared it’s gone again.

I often wonder if they are as valuable to the scientific, environmental world as they are to me in those brief few moments while I drive by. I hope so. I hope they serve some utilitarian purpose because it’s my judgement that in general the world needs to see the material value in a thing, a practice, a person, in order to want to keep it around for any length of time and I’d be gutted if the wind farms came down before I have the chance to sit at that picnic shelter on a warm summer day and pray.

In my head I plan that trip with the hope that there will be simply one moment in which I will hear the wind being collected by those long arms harvesting the air, that I will know myself as that which is being gathered in and also that which is gathering. I don’t know, it’s a little crazy that all I really need from that picnic shelter is that one sweeping moment, the moment that feels like the sudden intake of oxygen that comes before I start crying in earnest and then the complimentary exhale that arrives when the grief is ready to recede again, for a little while, for a long time but never forever. I wonder if my cells become permanently altered by grief like the lines that take up residence around my eyes after years of living, worry lines, side effects of smiling and squinting into the sun.

I imagine then I’ll leave, reluctantly, nodding some silent or maybe quietly spoken ‘thank you’ to the windmills for their time and conversation, for harvesting the air I needed to breathe again just then and always.

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