Gone with the Wind

The weather was nice on Tuesday, warm and sunny, but fresh. I'd worked my derrière off for six days in a row and decided it was time to go zen out. So off I went to Sugar Beach. Once I got there, I discovered that the day that was fresh by my building was pretty windy when you got close to the lake. The water was downright choppy, even in the secluded area where another freighter loaded with sugar was docked.


I love this time of year by the lake. The heat of summer has dissipated, everyone has going back to work and school and there are very few people hanging out at the water in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. The beach is largely empty, the Muskoka chairs unoccupied under the pink umbrellas and somehow, this image triggers mood and imagination in a way that doesn't happen in the summer.


Even around lunchtime, the sun is so low in the sky that the water turns into nothing but sparkles. The size and shape and intensity of the sparkles vary depending on how calm or rough the water is and I never get tired of looking at it. Every move and wave and boat sailing through amazes and delights and is surely the most beautiful this view has ever been. I have approximately 572 photographs of the same view, all slightly different and if asked to choose the most beautiful, I wouldn't know how.

There’s a… I don't know what the word is in English, but in Danish paalandsvind is the word we use for wind that comes in from the sea towards land. Because I grew up in a country surrounded by the ocean and we seem to have words for wind in much the same way as the Inuit have words for snow. Paalandsvind gives you a strong smell of large water and it is the time when this freshwater lake smells most like the ocean. This kind of wind also makes for lovely choppy water and actual whitecaps on the normally fairly tranquil lake.

I close my eyes, breathe in the almost-salt air and listen to the waves hit the dockwall in front of me. This is the 'it' moment for me, the one where the smell and sounds of water and the wind in my hair brings me peace deeper and faster than anything else.

It's a good moment and it's a peaceful one, but mixed in with the sound of the waves is the deep thrum of the freighter unloading sugar. I decide to head further down the promenade, down towards the end where there are no buildings, no ships and on a day like today, probably no people. I pass the restaurant and I pass the new college campus and with every metre further down I move, the stronger the wind gets. Just past the last building is one of the students, eating his lunch surrounded by hopeful seagulls. Some stand still rocking slightly in the wind, others try to cross the path and the wind moves them in a diagonal line. Others still have figured out that the best option is to lie down, becoming harder to move without the spindly legs between their body and the ground.

I move carefully past them, not wanting to scare them into screeching even more than they already are. And as I do, some take flight and hang almost stationary in the wind right in front of me.

And a little bit further I go and there…

I am down as far as you can get before a fence separates this newly built area and a deserted wasteland of dirt, rock and weeds and I turn around and face the promenade and the wind. It is so strong that my solid power wheelchair that weighs at least 300 pounds, maybe more, rocks slightly in the wind, just like the seagulls do. The wind is shaking the branches of the maple trees that edge the promenade so strongly that the leaves whip against each other.

The wind is now so strong and unbuffeted by built structures that it pounds against my eardrums, creating a chorus of sounds when air hits my eardrums at great speed. All I can hear is the noise of the wind in the leaves and the noise of the wind itself. It drowns out the sound of the water, any sounds from people and I can no longer hear the screeches of the seagulls. There is just wind, wind, and more wind.

I sit there for while, letting the wind blow against my eardrums and through my mind, taking with it worry, stress, thoughts of what I should be doing in the next few days, thoughts of calls to make, any thoughts, really. I sit and look out onto the unruly water, sparkle upon sparkle, so close together and so vibrant that it is like a sea of silver spots being thrown against one another by a wind that leaps and jumps and rolls. It is a happy place, there is a sense of freedom and exhilaration as if the elements of water and air were celebrating. They are free of the heat and stillness of summer, free to dance. Dance alone and dance together and I am lucky to be right there when they do. 



Diana Troldahl said…
How wonderful to have a place close by that brings such joy!
We moved in July, and I am still trying to find a place like that for me. There is a space behind the apartment buildings where, if I can block my ears to hide from the traffic on the nearby busy streets I can look out on waving grasses while sitting under a willow tree. That is the winner so far.
The St. Lawrence Seaway is only about 30 minutes driving from here so there are always weekend jaunts, too.
Lisa H. said…
This is a delightful post! I can't believe how much it calmed me, just reading it. :) Thanks for sharing!
RA Guy said…
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
AlisonH said…
Thank you, Lene. With those words, I was there too for a moment.
Diane said…
It's interesting how attuned we are to nearby large bodies of water. That wind is called on-shore breeze/wind on this side of the lake and generally signals squalls are likely to form and move in.

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