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Gary Presley considers the symbols and mysteries of nature @ Fringe.

I live in a place where the wind blows, not constantly but nearly so. Only on the hottest, most oppressively humid days does it stall. Only on a hard winter morning, all things ice solid beneath the weight of a sagging Arctic high-pressure system do I see branches hold still. In the summer, the wind is from the south and in the winter from the northwest. In the summer, it generally is pleasant enough, sometimes cooling, sometimes like the hot breath of a hair dryer; in the winter, it always hurts.I have only lived in this particular house for a year. I never thought much about the wind in the other places I have lived. The constant wind here reminds me of my grandmother, a woman who liked the wind, perhaps not liked so much as she felt the wind cradled her in a familiarity. I know she seemed to like nothing very much. My grandmother was a native of the Appalachian foothills of east Tennessee, but she lived seventy years or more on the prairie. When I was a boy we lived in the deep hill country. When she would visit, I would listen to her complain of not being able to see the horizon, of being closed in by the hills pressing against Spring Creek valley, a place all the more isolated by its thirty mile distance from the Mother Road, Route 66.

The wind in this place is still new to me, even after a year, a thing both understood and surprising. I first began to notice it because the room in which I write looks to the east, and there is a point in that direction where the land slopes downward in a dramatic fashion. The marrying of terrain and prevailing winds means a consistent updraft works its invisible magic outside my window nearly every day, a magic lifting and cradling of two birds common in this part of the world, red-tail hawks and vultures. Each day there is a festival of birds riding the wind, sometimes at eye level with my window, lingering, always lingering a hundred feet or more above the ground as they ride the updrafts.

Image: Adele Holmes @ F-Stop Magazine/

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