Note: This article has been posted before, in the TotegTribe mailing list on
Yahoo.com. It was posted in two parts, the first on 9/16/04, and the
second on 9/21/04 in response to questions of "how." The
material is now on file with the Visar's Guild of Toteg Tribe with my full
It's the early part of the storm yet, here in Atlanta. The winds are just starting to pick up, and the pavement has given up its attempts to dry, staying wet between bands of drizzle. I sit here in my cubicle and I am afraid. I listen to my fountain sitting next to me, desperately trying to focus on something other than the darkness outside my window, and the trees tossing this way and that. On the drive in to work today I saw on my primary route out, the leaning tower of pine tree. The ground is saturated, and the root systems can be shallow. The newsman said that was the greatest worry we had here, just now.
So I try to focus on my work, but the research is making my head hurt and oh my goodness did that tree just bend horizontally? Back to Weather.com I go, and watch the storm maps. No update. Well, it's only been a half hour. Rich will not be coming home until late tonight, what does the hourly forecast say for when he's getting home. Still the beginning of the peak of the winds, he'll be driving through. Will the leaning tower of pine make it that long? Will our other route - which has been dug up for construction, and is a 10 foot pile of mud threatening to slide - hold for him to come home? The wind blows, the CD spins, the fountain bubbles, and the fear sets in.
I used to love storms. I used to go out in the wind and rain and spin around with my arms spread, soaking wet within seconds. I used to call the wind, and it would answer. I used to scare people with that, sometimes. In junior high I scared my riding instructor when I wanted to ride, and it poured, and I told her the ring would be dry, despite the day long rain storm. The tornados in Atlanta in 1998 finally scared me, where I (and many other workers that I know of) spent the evening trying with everything I had to keep the tornados from causing destruction. Could my "calling the wind" cause that kind of thing? I moved to Raleigh, and called the wind for the last time, shortly after we moved in. A gentle whirlwind danced with me on the sidewalk as my housemates watched and laughed. And then I was frightened. That whirlwind... what's the difference between that and a tornado, other than scale? Since that realization, storms have terrified me. Will I call the wind on impulse, and will it come still? Will trees fall as a result? Best to stay inside and hide. Best to avoid temptation.
Then I read other storm-crows in the list. One asked if we'd talked to the storm. And now I sit at my desk in terror, and remember.
Impulse moves me, and I let it. I grab my rain slicker and go out to the pond. The turtle family greeted me there yesterday, when I stood on the bridge and they swam below and looked up at me. Will they be there today?
I walk outside. Someone's out here, but I stop on the stair and taste the air anyway. Heavy, dense. The wind is still and expectant. I walk down the path, careful not to slip on the debris left from the last time the pond flooded, and the moss and algae now growing on the asphalt. Wind, do I feel you? No, only sound as you whistle in the upper
branches of the trees. Stepping into a particularly covered area, the light darkens a touch. Walk past the bench. The path is deserted, except for me. Not even the birds are heard.
I get to the bridge and look down. The pond is brown today, and there is no sign of the turtles. Are they under the bridge? Have they taken cover? I so hope they make it through this; the littlest of the babies was awfully small...
Still no wind, no rain. Just heavy air. I look across the pond, see the familiar trees, see the grey sky above. A whisper of a breeze comes by. I look at the maple tree next to the bridge, its roots underwater as always (how does it survive like that?). I look at the oak on the other side of the bridge. The wind whispers by again, more forcefully this time, and I can contain it no longer. I call.
The wind answers, joyfully. The trees toss, but somehow it feels as though they are dancing. I spread my arms and embrace the wind, and let it blow me back as well. We're supposed to be in a dry band, and yet the rain comes and kisses my face, and I laugh and cry with the storm. I'm glad now that nobody's around; I don't think my coworkers would understand. I wonder how I'm not glowing, it feels like lightning crackles all across my body in a joyous dance. I am lost.
Finally I come back to myself. The wind is slowing, the rain is slowing, and I must get back to work. I walk off the bridge and the wind stops. I go up the stairs. The man on his phone is still there. He's smiling; I grin back at him uncontrollably. Amazing.
The edge of the storm has touched me like a gentle friend, powerful and yet not
unleashed... yet. Later tonight we will see the violence, the danger, the damage. But that is not for now. We personalize these storms I see, make them into vicious monsters which they are not. They simply are, bundles of force and energy that cause destruction. Are we humans anything less? This storm is my kin, as is all else. If I forget the rest, I must not forget that.
I come back to my desk and begin to type. Outside I watch the wind toss the trees periodically, but it feels like it's calling me back out to play. The trees beckon, but I cannot answer. Click click click the keyboard sounds, and little black figures move across a white screen.
The feeling is fading now. My mind is kicking back in, telling me how destructive the storm is. It's telling me not to share this after all. It's getting darker again, and my mind speaks of fear, foreboding, and all sorts of badness. It tells me how comforting the fountain is, in its controlled electric existance, and how having that same sound outside is somehow bad while the fountain is good. It lies to me. My spirit longs to return to the storm, but the voice is right in one thing - If I go out and sit in the storm all day, I will not get the bills paid.
And so I come back to this. I can go out in the storm when work is done, I think, but will calling the wind, will being the wind, cause destruction? A part of me that is fading asks if that's really a bad thing, but I have to live in this world and no, I don't want to watch my house fall nor my neighbors houses be damaged. Can I really be the cause of that? Well, I don't know. When I call, the wind still answers. I can lose myself in the storm, and call and call; does that make the storm worse? I haven't tried since I was a child, but it sure seemed to do so in the past.
The fear is returning, and a part of me cries. If my husband works late tonight, I will be alone with the storm. Dare I sit on the patio and dance the storm? Dare I take the chance?
I guess we'll see tonight...
As far as shifting storms and wind and such... Essentially I can sense where the storm can go, and where it can't, and if I want to nudge it to do something I can sometimes do so.
If I'm paying attention and in the right frame of mind, I don't have to get wet if rain threatens, I can get it to wait while I run inside - IF I run inside. Otherwise I get rather spectacularly drenched. If I call the wind to blow in a storm, I can get it to blow, though I try to avoid getting a breeze to go against where the wind is blowing (A. I don't know if I could. B. If I'm in a frame where I can call wind, the idea of doing so is pretty darned near inconceivable. C. What might spawn off wind forces going in two opposing directions? *shudders*). If it's a still day I can usually get a breeze, but not sustained, and it's generally just a tease.
The trick to it, for me, is state of mind. I know you hear a lot, especially in shamanic circles, about altered states of consciousness... to really get the wind to work with me, or read a storm well enough to out-guess the meteorologists, I have to enter a certain state. It's not like journey in that I'm not focused outside myself. The brain shuts off, and... I deliberately wrote that storm experience up in primarily first person, because in this state it's almost all raw experience and "Now," and if I think about it, evaluate it, concentrate, or do any of the other "mental" things, I lose it completely. First I have to Be, then I can Be with other things. Willow's been teaching me how to use this at the office when I don't have a painkiller handy, and I'm starting to work with Oak for learning to not break so much. I'm really not sure how to explain it though.. I get busy Being, if I can even do that at that time, and then I can share Being with other things around me (or in spirit) that let me share. When in synch with whatever, I can sometimes nudge it, sometimes not. I am not in control, I don't know if even really am a separate me when I lose myself in it. But I can generally get my intention through to whatever I'm sharing, which usually (since we're in sympathy anyway) goes along with my idea if it's not in conflict with its is-ness.
So when I was dancing with the whirlwind - it would be more appropriate to say the whirlwind was dancing with me, or even the whirlwind was *dancing* me, and yet I called the whirlwind out of the storm. It would also be appropriate to point out that after that particular experience I was flat on my butt for hours - I'm thinking it was actually a couple days - because I couldn't really handle it but I was running on instinct, or instinct was running me, but either way I shouldn't be doing that sort of thing unless IT really wants to...
If I may quote Terry Pratchett, "It is at this point that normal language gives up, and goes and has a drink."
When I journey (which isn't as often as it was), I only shapeshift into shapes I have earned. Learning to become what I was shifting into, is one of the things I work on there when I do go, and was a major lesson for me a couple years ago. Now, I'm working on carrying that into this world, so I can do something with it other than just go hang out with the horses or deer or...
Anyway, I was hoping I might be able to clarify but somehow I think I only muddied the waters...