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Settled onto the hardwood bench just feet from the beach sand and atop the storm-reach dune, I let my eyes soften on the clash of sea and sky and sand before me. The probing wind hissed to the sea: "I have found you," as it boiled away the wave cap into white froth, the dune grass waving in approval. Herring gulls soared abruptly heavenward on the elevating winds that spanked off the sea.
"Tell me how the wind blows," she said softly, just loud enough for me to capture on peripheral awareness.
She was Abigail, old even to my aging eyes and yet radiating a beauty that years could not diminish. Weary from fighting the blustery wind on the return of her beach stroll, she had asked me if I would share the bench. In granting her trespass, I had opened a brief window of conversation in which I had told her I wrote about the weather. Then silence returned, broken only by the voice of the wind rushing past my ears.
"Tell me how the wind blows," she repeated.
I paused to jumpstart my brain and finally began: "Well, wind is air pushed into motion by differences in air pressure..."
Before I could formulate the rest of the sentence, she interrupted. "I know the science. You said you were a writer. Tell me how the wind blows, here and now."
"The wind is slapping the sea into a frenzy, trying to drive it from its bed onto our feet," I improvised.
"Yes," she said, "that's it, the poetry, the poetry of the wind."
"The wind striking the sea breaks its unison voice into the cry of an angry mob."
"The colours of the wind provide a kaleidoscope of sensation and like snowflakes, no two moments are alike."
"The shrieking wind, maddening the sea, has driven it into a very un-Pacific ocean, but it is the lulls among the gusts that make us so uneasy."
Then looking at her, I could see the increasing displeasure of the wind shook her with chill.
"The savage wind now defeats us. Perhaps we should return to shelter." She nodded in agreement.
"Follow close behind me," I advised, "My body should break the force of the wind; it'll be easier on you."
Again a nod and we pushed along the beach trail toward the parking area. I glanced back often to assure myself she remained close behind.
At her car, she surprised me with a quick hug. "Thank you, I enjoyed the words."
As she back the car away, she paused, rolled down her window: "My husband was a poet...."
Then I noticed the wind had brought a raindrop to both our cheeks.
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