Christmas in La Paz: Close to the Edge

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“The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”
~Joan Didion

Roaring through the arches of the patio, the wind here is mournful and heavy, almost a tangible presence.

My parents live in the desert, a desert that ambles down to the water’s edge, but if all you knew was the sound of the wind you’d think they lived on the open prairie.

I remember a line in one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books about women on the prairie going mad from the combination of relentless wind and isolation. How much different were the women who lived here? Were they more resilient? Were they more mentally stable? Or is wind one of those things that spooks even the strongest of us, as it whistles through our hair and tickles our skin.

Outside, it sounds of pan-flutes and empty bottles, of breath and sadness.

And yet, the wind itself brings refreshment, cooler air, fewer insects, even as it stirs up clouds of dust and dries your skin.

If you’re already close to the edge, even the slightest breeze could push you over.

And if you’re not? If you’re well-grounded with your feet firmly planted, does it nudge you toward that precipice or merely tease you with ghostly caresses and wordless whispers?

Wind.

It’s power and breath and life.
And dust.
And despair.

Never ceasing.
But not always discernible.

Holidailies 2014

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Christmas in La Paz: Close to the Edge by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.