The art of watching the wind is one that has been practiced for centuries yet it seems to be the art the we know the least about. Maybe this is because we can’t see the wind, only the way the branches move, the way dust rises and the chill on your skin.
And even then one only knows that “now” there is a wind. Or that there will be winds during this season that blow from this general direction – but no one knows the exact time and strength of the wind, until they know it.
In this way, watching the wind is a game of guesses, of memory and of waves. It becomes the art of knowing what colour the leaves turn in July and when it will be prudent to wear a jacket.
But it is the wind that blows the sails that carry our ships through the current sea. Our backs bent trading rowing as a currency to get us through.
And because of this it is not uncommon to see old men gathered at the deck trading clues that could mean something was about change. Talking about how the leaves looked at their last docking, or how they haven’t needed to wear a jacket in months despite it being monsoon season.
And to see the boys squinting into the distance for a glimpse of the wind – as if it is a beast, a specific thing that can be seen wandering the streets, tugging at everything in its way, whipping up waves. And the mothers tell stories of a time when the wind changed direction and the panic and the celebration that it caused. And the children dream of a day that they would be the first to say:
“There! Hold her steady, the wind blows different today, we chart different territory now, but I know how to navigate.”
But the wind blows oblivious to the whims and the wills of men.
And they gather hoping, praying and waiting for a sign.
The dust storms are late. Maybe this will be the year.