The Wind is Wise to Whisper
Absolute perfection. A soft pink glow was faded better than any painter could smooth muted pink into muted blue, smeared all the way up until it turned a deeper shade. A sparkling crescent moon with a lone star for companionship hung there in the middle of all that color smear. It was welcoming in the night, and maybe me too, as I wondered out into it.
A perfect night. I breathed upward into that cooling air. For an instant there was a flash of an image that came to my eyes as I looked at the quiet road before me, like a memory from a former life. The road was not so paved in this flash. Wild strings of vegetation hung over the edges, making for more of a gentle transition of road to earth, something like the gentle smear of color in the sky.
With that glow fading fast, the distant streetlights made sharp and harsh streaks of light that cut through the overhanging branches at the side of my dirt/paved road. Strange harshness has its place in life, preferably at a distance, so I carried on away from the distant lights. Might as well, I decided, with all that darkness for company.
I smelled cologne heavy in the air. It wasn’t the first time I have on a nighttime walk. Was it a real smell, or was the imagination getting a bit extra artistic? The smell did not seem eerie as it had before, but like an old friend. A smell from another time, brought forth for some reason—conjured up from the master file of the mind?
Or maybe it was only the ghost of a man that kept a heavy hand on the cologne bottle, always ready to impress the ladies. Maybe he walks just two steps behind me on these nighttime meanders, seeking a little companionship, but not wanting to be rude.
There was a soft movement of air around me, not rustling the tree branches, but only a feeling of motion there as though the wind preferred travel by road as well. Margaret Wise Brown’s words came to me from the children’s bedtime poem book:
The sound of the wind is a wild sound
It bristles the hairs on my back
The sound of the wind is the deep sound
Of all that I long for and lack
The wind does know what I long for and lack, even if I do not. And it whispers it at dusk on perfect nights with smeared skies and ghostly cologne smells. There are times when I want badly to know all those secrets, but not then. Happiness was in not knowing.
It was last year that I noticed the small crackle at the corners of my eyes. With the rise of the laugh lines comes the rise of those old cliché existential questions. Why? What is the point? Why?
The wind knows, but be damned if I do. But I guess that is the fun of it all. If all the answers to the questions in life were crystal clear, wouldn’t that make the adventure of life a bit meaningless? The wind is wise to whisper.
The cologne smell faded halfway through the walk. The ghost had gotten weary. Only someone that still needs to strain to hear the whispers would walk so far. Big Dog took on a reluctant look, padding on slowly, looking like he knew the answers to all questions were in a dream. As I write this he is sleeping soundly at my side, his foot twitching as he wanders around in perfect meaningfulness.
Now the walk is over. The sky has faded to black. The ghost has gone back to doing what it is that he does. Big Dog sleeps. And now I think I know just what the wind was whispering to me tonight:
All the answers, all the meanings, are always in words.