Thursday, March 6, 2008

The lesson behind the dust cloud

The wind picks while we're standing at the side of the truck yard, smoking and talking before class starts. The wind blows in the same direction as the highway goes, just there over the fence from the yard, southward. It picks up the dust, all the fine dust that turns to mud in the rain, spins it until it looks like a sand storm then sends it blowing in our direction. We duck behind cars until it passes, trying not to laugh as we shield our eyes and mouths.

I watch it pass and I wonder how I can ever quantify the lessons I've learned from wind and dust in my face. It is spring now, the air is fresh even when carrying dust and full of that intangible possibility not yet bogged down by the realities of summer heat. Last year around this time, I was skating with the wind in my face on broken asphalt, falling and getting back up again and again, the wind blowing soft through that park with fog rolling into the nearby soccer fields. Two years ago, I felt my own mortality pulsing around me in a gravel lot in New Mexico, desert wind washing me clean.

"You are alive," the wind tells me as it blows past on its way to other lands. And I hear it, I hear it, and laugh with a mouthful of dust.

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