If I Were the Wind

The wind that makes music in November corn is in a hurry.  The stalks hum, the loose husks whisk skyward in half-playful swirls, and the wind hurries on.

In the marsh, long windy waves surge across the grassy sloughs, beat against the far willows.  A tree tries to argue, bare limbs waving, but there is no detaining the wind.

On the sandbar there is only wind, and the river sliding seaward.  Every wisp of grass is drawing circles on the sand.  I wander over the bar to a driftwood log, where I sit and listen to the universal roar, and to the tinkle of wavelets on the shore.  The river is lifeless: not a duck, heron, marshhawk, or gull but has sought refuge from wind.

Out of the clouds I hear a faint bark, as of a faraway dog.  It is strange how the world cocks its ears at that sound, wondering.  Soon it is louder: the honk of geese, invisible, but coming on.

The flock emerges from the low clouds, a tattered banner of birds, dipping and rising, blown up and blown down, blown together and blown apart, but advancing, the wind wrestling lovingly with each winnowing wing.  When the flock is a blur in the far sky I hear the last honk, sounding taps for summer.

It is warm behind the driftwood now, for the wind has gone with the geese.  So would I ― if I were the wind.


About this Short Story:

Author: Aldo Leopold (1887-1948).

Source: A Sand County Almanac © 1949 Oxford University Press (United Kingdom).

Photos: (1) Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) by Nick Fewings (Unsplash); (2) Female model on driftwood log by Engin Akyurt (Pexels).