A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. (e. e. cummings)
I thought it would be a quick walk. I meant for that. I really did. I meant to take Duncan outside, perhaps to The Glen, just long enough to stretch his legs and feel the air on his face and against his open mouth, to let him taste the last of this day to save for some other time when he was sitting in the warm side of the window watching an afternoon pass without him. The night was dark with the sudden clouds that swept down on us from the north, raising the dust and prickly once-leaves and then bringing a thick, heavy snow which wanted to last but couldn't because the wind was simply too impatient for it and in far too great a hurry to rage unfettered across the open plains of Kansas or Nebraska. Surprisingly I, for once, agreed with the wind and wanted to rush and howl.
But once Duncan I were at the park, dark and blessedly free of any other souls, some force claimed us both, took command of our bodies and thoughts and scooped us up, driving us forward, against the screaming wind, pushing our cheeks back, shaping our mouths into maniacal grins and turning our eyes into squinting black points. The wind was terrible and fierce and as I stood in the center of the wide soccer field watching the cottonwoods and elms bend all around us, leaning at nearly impossible angles while Dunc darted madly back and forth among their trunks, a sense of celebration rose up in me, defiance and celebration and nothing in me wanted to return to the warmth of home or the rich, safe fragrance of the French onion soup simmering on the stove. I wanted to dance and run, and sometimes merely to walk but always to struggle. I wanted to listen as my calls for Duncan were pulled from my throat and ripped into shredded-silence across the field. The sting on my cheeks and in my eyes meant nothing, nor the cold sucking on the bones of my fingers. All that mattered was the roar and our passage through it.
Duncan was wild, galloping and rolling, snapping at the leaves that spun through the air between us, flung from their high branches, careening around our heads, winding around our ankles. The trees shifted and groaned as they bent toward us in stiff, straight-backed bows and I wondered how anything so tall and narrow could stand it and then I thought, how could they not? Why would anything want to ignore such graceful and feral calamity behind the veil and impotence of four walls when it could bend and dance under a sky-ravaged moon and test the mettle of its character?
Tonight we were free. Beautiful and wild and free. Tonight we were one with the wind.