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Monday Photo Meditation: The Gifts of the Winds

Rainbow 2 Resized

Summer here is an elemental season, all earth, air, fire, water. We are fortunate that the third of those is tamped down, at least for the moment: We spent all of June beneath an oppressive haze of smoke, the product of multiple wildfires, not the least of which were two that burned dangerously close.

Normally, our windy season is spring, but climate change has altered those patterns as much as any other. The air and its spirits deliver the smoke to us even as they do the storm, and thus far this season, there has been far more of the former than the latter. We are now fully into what should be our monsoon, and yet precious little water has fallen from the sky.

It makes the gifts of the winds all the more valuable.

First and foremost, of course, is the gift of the rain, that which sustains the land and ensures the harvest. But with the storm comes more blessings than the water — less tangible, perhaps, even ephemeral, but valuable and valued all the same.

Here, the air brings clarity, a freshness of scent and feel and breath that cleanses the body as much as it soothes the spirit.  We appreciate such moments all the more this year, given that most of our summer thus far has been veiled by smoke, a yellow-gray miasma in which only mosquitoes seem to thrive. Even our hummingbirds vanished, only returning this weekend just past.

But the air brings us another blessing, too, one that is found only in rare places where elevation and aridity and angle all combine to produce the storm’s own art: the gift of the light.

Here, the light is a tangible thing, a wholly animated spirit. Gazing at it — or, perhaps more precisely, at its effects — induces deep in one’s soul the belief that it really is possible to touch the light, to extend one’s hand and wrap fingers gently around its delicate strands, to feel its very shimmer wash over one’s skin and spirit. In this season, the light turns the ordinary beyond extraordinary: It is a glimpse into other worlds, a hint of the possibilities open to us here and now, and awaiting us beyond.

The light here turns the aspens silver and the fruit trees gold, the boulders copper and the leaves and grass the color of emeralds and jade. The light transforms the storm into titanium skies lit platinum from within, bespangled with the rainbow’s jeweled arc: ruby, amber, citrine, emerald, sapphire, amethyst.

In this season, the light turns the world into a jewel box, a treasure chest, a cache of mystery and magic and gems beyond price.

And these are the gifts of the winds: the raw elemental power of the storm, the breath of life that is the rain, the clarity of the air . . . and the jewels of the light.

~ Aji








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