Island Blog – Stories on a Backwind

It’s been ten days since I blogged, give or take. I blame my best friend because she and I have been here on the island together and there is much to talk about after a year apart. She hasn’t been able to leave, thank you Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, even as it irks me to buy into this nonsense naming of storms or winds. We were always quite the thing just acknowledging a new storm and for hundreds of years, as if we knew we could never tame, nor name them, so powerful and volatile were/are they. Nowadays they take on bowler hats or the memory of old grumpy great aunts who smelled of things nobody ever wanted to smell outside of a wheelie bin long uncollected.

Moving on.

The winds whip crazy this month, flipping from North to Northwest, to West and back to North. Sometimes the South pulls up her big girl knickers for a wee toot but she is up against the big winterboys so doesn’t get much of a word in. Occasionally I have met her on the Tapselteerie track, a sudden hug of warmth but she is wheeched away in seconds. I might walk backwards a step or two to see if she is still there because she was about to gift me a story, but no. She is gone. So what story did she carry on her back? I caught the first line but no more. That’s ok. She’ll be back soon enough.

However the winterboys carry stories too on their backs. If you look at where the wind is coming from and check out the country in line with the wind, you can hear the stories from Iceland where all the mythical stories began and beyond to Greenland. They know cold as ancient. And stories come from ‘ancient.’ Listen as you clothe up and bend against the hail stones. Listen to the slough-song of the wind. Let it blow through you, feel it on you skin and listen. No, not just listen, hear.

Most of the time I do this listen/hear thing and have no translation. Thing is, it doesn’t bother me at all. I am a tiddler in this walk through time, but I am here, I am a tiddler and I can engage. I might catch an image, see how it was when skinning an Elk was the biggest thing for that day. We, now, Elk free, can fight against the winterboys but we will never win. Nor will we master them with expensive outdoor kit nor giving them ridiculous taming names. The moment we can just thrill to the cold, feel the wind, walk out barefoot (just me I think) and really feel the whole craziness of winter life whilst listening to and hearing the windback stories, we are, at once, at home with the whole gamut of seasons.

Such a freedom.

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