Wind buffets the house. A neighbor leans into the blast as she walks up the sidewalk with her arms wrapped around herself for warmth. I didn’t think it was that cold out, but she wears a white puffy coat with the hood up.
This morning my husband and I sat in the living room with only the sound of the wind — no radio, no TV, no music. The kids slept. He and I drank coffee, sometimes talking, sometimes sitting quiet, listening to whumps of air hit the house. I watched grasses whip, oak limbs shiver, and orange leaves rip off of trees and skitter down the street.
Low clouds hung heavy out the window. They blocked the sun and covered the whole sky. I set my coffee mug in the windowsill to check the Virginia Tech library for books on clouds. It didn’t open for a few hours, so I jotted down some call numbers for a possible trip to the stacks later in the day.
After watching and listening, I wanted to be out in the weather. I put on a warm tunic with a kangaroo pouch to hold my phone, and I went out for a walk. I took my earbuds but after I heard the first woosh of wind in the hollow tree tops, I never put them in. I listened to high air rush through naked branches, then rattle like maracas when it hit trees filled with dry brown leaves. The sky above me was dark grey. Heavy clouds scurried across the sky, and I checked my phone’s compass to mark the direction of their movement. When I walked through a tunnel of trees, the swishing sound of wind through twiggy wood surrounded me.
In the park my walk took me to, I watched two small children squeal as the bluster plucked leaves from a small tree and sent them to soar and dip across the path. The kids chased the leaves like our cats at the back door on windy days.
On the final stretch of my walk, up the hill to our house, the wind rushed down the street, hitting me full in the face. My hair blew back and I felt and heard the wind against my ears, both cool and warm. Leaves whipped by, and I leaned forward just like the woman I saw a few minutes ago.
Hours later, I sit again in the living room, the sky still dark, a hollow whoomp at the chimney top every time a gust blows over. I’ve now had my afternoon coffee, and it’s time to head to the library to get picture books of clouds.