Tag: Wind

An Gaoth Fiáin

An Gaoth Fiáin

The final walk up to Dún Aonghusa was with four friends from the retreat. It was late at night and the wind was crazy. It was my first nighttime excursion that wasn’t solo and their first nighttime visit.

Rain had soaked the ground earlier and left rocks slippery. We used care as we climbed the slick, steep trail and because of the wind, used the buddy system to make sure if one of us blew off the trail we could notify next of kin. We joked but it was rather treacherous.

It wasn’t just wind speed, it was the swirling and gusting that made it difficult to brace or know how to prepare. It was an adventure of stamina and courage.

As we entered the grassy circle a gust nearly knocked me down. I dropped to a knee to keep from falling. We climbed further and found soft grass to lay on and got as flat as possible to watch the stars.

And the wind still pushed us as we lay gazing into stars.

The reward for the challenging climb was a night sky that appeared to hover just over us with brilliant stars that twinkled brightly. Even with wind raging around us, a calm descended as we collectively soaked up energy from the firmament.

But the wind eventually won and we agreed to descend to safer elevations. Once again, the wind swirled and knocked us about as we walked down through the fort. Twice more it pushed me to my knees. The geek in me later researched wind speeds and standing versus being knocked down. It’s safe to guess the gusts on Dún Aonghusa were 55 miles per hour or more that night. It wasn’t kite flying weather or a night to get anywhere near the 300 foot drop into the Atlantic Ocean.

We carefully navigated the slippery, steep path down and kept close watch on one another. While I usually like to explore solo, I told my new friends how happy I was to be with them that night. That was no night to be alone on top of the cliff.

It was midnight before we returned. In my journal I wrote….it was wicked windy. That, my friends, is an understatement.


An Goath Fiáin……The Wild Wind


Note: The photographs were taken from the pre-dawn visit that morning. My tripod and camera would have been blown off the cliff had I attempted to use them. Even taking the photograph below, a few days before, I had to hide my equipment from the wind. Our arms weren’t locked around each other just because we care about one another…..it was pretty windy that day as well.

Outsmarting the Wind

Outsmarting the Wind

At 6.15am my eyes popped open and I evaluated the wind situation quickly by glancing out the French doors. Perfectly calm…for now. I knew that sunrise would bring more wind. It is normal for winds to increase as the earth heats during the day but today–when the forecast called for 15 to 25 mph winds with 30 mph gusts–I knew my window for SUP boarding on the river (comfortably) was small. So I raced to get ready and was on the water by 6.45am.

Upriver, where I live, the river is narrow and calm
Upriver, where I live, the river is narrow and calm

Paddling so early almost insures a visit with the river before human activity begins, while it is quiet and peaceful. The two wood duck couples I greeted were not happy about the intrusion on their morning ritual. But it was glorious and I sang apologies for my disturbing their morning.

It was mostly calm in the narrow part of the river with ripples from gusts barely registering on the water’s surface. Green was exploding around me, reflecting in the water and filling my vision with beauty. As I warmed up I felt my relief to be back on the water. Joy at feeling my muscles find their strength. Delight as I got to my cardio pace. YES!

RIVER2 (3)Mullet were splashing so close to me that I wondered if there was such a thing as mullet armor or if I could invent it. Humorous perhaps but some of those fish get ambitious in their leaps. No joke!

Great blue herons fished peacefully along the banks. Green herons squawked, annoyed at my intrusion. The large pond slider on the log under the bridge was ousted by the tiny baby turtle. Both accepted me as a friend and showed no protest at my passing.

When I got to Bemis Bay, where the river opens up into a larger body of water, the wind was churning and gave me a good push. How nice to have this help. But I knew that upon return the wind would be gathering strength and I’d be facing it. But it was so worth the effort to be there, to be present on the Magnolia River.

On I paddled, now pushed by the gaining wind and happy to be sliding through a spring-time sunrise on my board, my ‘friend.’

When I got to my two mile marker–a tree that leans over the river, across from where the osprey perches in the cypress tree–I turned around and retrieved my water bottle to replenish my fluids. As I floated, beauty of the wild part of the river tapped at my heart and I returned the greeting by whispering words of gratitude.

The paddle back up river presented a kaleidoscope of patterns. Colors of gray, blue, white and green danced on the contours of small waves and I was lost in that world of shape and hue and wished I could paint what I saw. Then the sun broke through but it was a white sun, more like a moon glade and I paddled into the shimmering silver sunrise and gusting, whipping wind. I was sweating from the pace set but grateful to feel so present, so here in this body, and so surrounded by nature at its finest along the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Later in the day the blow lived up to the forecast. So glad was I that I had almost outsmarted the wind. Never would there be reason to claim a true one-upping something so big as the wind as there is always tomorrow….

It is so calm upriver....such a lovely way to end my workout and morning visit with the river and its residents
It is so calm upriver….such a lovely way to end my workout and morning visit with the river and its residents
The Wild Wind

The Wild Wind

As I walked through the neighborhood this morning, wind was gusting outrageously. I was listening to music on my iPod and it seemed to match the intensity of the dancing tree limbs. I’m not sure any other element so profoundly calls me to embrace the dance of life.

Hurricane Isaac
Hurricane Isaac 2012

Wind is changeable, powerful, gentle, destructive, cooling, warming….it announces storms before they arrive and kisses the cheeks of babes. As I was getting my nature time and cardio in during the pre-storm gusts, it called me to answer its power with my own inner power. Several times while walking I raised my arms and opened my hands to the sky. It felt like an affirmation of life, a big YES to the Universe. Thank goodness our neighborhood is mostly trees with only a few homes. Only the squirrels managed to glimpse my display of…of… WOO HOO!!!

courtyard (5)Later I sat inside and watched the oak trees sway from my second story office window. Limbs and branches were highly excited and even the trunks were moving in their slow, steady back-and-forth shuffle. How amazing to witness the power of wind. It calls me to remember the wildness within and free myself to flow with life.