Posted: July 22, 2011 in Inspiration Monday, WEEKLY PROMPT
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Another story prompt by the BE KIND REWRITE folk who inspire so many wonderful writers.  Thank you.

This week, I’ve chosen “WHEN THE WIND GETS TIRED” as my prompt.  Let’s see where this takes me.

When the Wind Gets Tired

There it is again.  The wind.  Out here on the plains the sound of the wind seems to never tire.  I hear it when I’m tending the garden plot, I can hear it pushing against the blades of the windmill: the squeak and creak of the machine has become part of the background of life here on this dusty ranch set on the prairie.  My house is built below the soil.  Dug into the hard relentless ground of this land, with sod covering the wood beams that my husband and I traveled over 100 miles to bring back to our homestead.  My husband is buried here now, suffered  a burst appendix 3 years back.  Situated as we are at an altitude of over 4000 feet on Sunflower Mount in Kansas, many are very surprised at what is not here when they arrive at the crest of the mountain. No trees, no boulders, nothing that actually reminds them of a mountain.  But mountain it is:  cold, wind blown and dry.  A disappointment to many, but not to me.  Up here, I am at peace with the wind.  Up here, life is harsh and the loneliness is capable of pushing lesser beings over the edge as the wind sings her mournful songs. Over and over, sometimes she is shrieking, sometimes she whispers, but always speaking; always moving the landscape and always wearing away at the soul, the earth, the mountain.

My little homestead sits on one of the trails leading through and away from Kansas. Forever towering over us is Colorado. Majestic mountains, sharp jagged peaks, miles upon miles of wooded life, which to my eye and heart is much too fearful to contemplate living there.  From my own Sunflower Mount, I can spot a visitor from miles away.  The buffalo once roamed here in great herds.  I still find their bones half buried under the wind burnt crust all around me.  I have water here on my mountain, I have grass to feed my herd of horses which I sell or trade to the settlers as they slowly crawl across the unforgiving and torturous countryside.  Their horses and oxen need changing  by the time they reach my little outpost.  Here they exchange  the animals they are using to pull their loads across the mountains for a heartier breed:  a well rested animal: one able to pull their heavily laden burdens across the high mountain passes of Colorado.  From time to time, I also offer my land (temporarily) to families who arrive too late to safely traverse the high mountain passes ahead of them.  For a woman alone on the plains it was a good trade.  The men would fix and repair my property using some of the supplies they brought with them to start their own homesteads. This is how I started building my windmill.  With each new year, a large assortment of parts would find their way to my door.  I rarely worried about how things would get done.  My winter guests would scour the plains for fuel to burn in our hearth during the long cold nights of winter.  The women would help me put the veggies up from my garden. I gained my sugar and flour from their reserves, feeding them and me during the lean months of winter.    Everyone, including  the children would help with the care of the horses and cattle, the men would repair fences and the windmill that brings the life-giving water from deep within the earth to the surface replenishing the garden and beasts alike who share my existence here on Sunflower Mount.

Those who passed through my little homestead were often heard to say when they left: “I’ll bet  when the wind gets tired here on Sunflower Mount, it is still noisy with its relentless complaints!”   I never thought of her “noise” as complaints, only as the voice of the wilderness, the song of the mountains, the restless whisper of a being who couldn’t understand the earth as she stood mute, hopelessly battling an unseen and unbeatable conflict against the ever-moving force of nature.  I’ve tried to stay a few nights in the mountains to the west, but without the wind in my ears I found myself nervous.  I would jump at the quietness of the forest, of the rustle of the mouse through the dead fall.  I had to get back out here. To my constant and always speaking friend, the wind.  She never tires here.  She’s with me always.

  1. I enjoyed every minute of reading this. You described the wind so well that I started to think if I lived there I would love it too, let it be my friend, too.

    Thank you!

  2. Kay Camden says:

    I was in this part of the country years ago, and you’ve just taken me back. I couldn’t understand how anyone could live with that wind all the time. Now I understand, and I want to be there myself. You’ve packed so much emotion in this. Stretch these words into 100,000 and it would be fabulous.

  3. pattisj says:

    This is beautiful, Chessie! I never imagined a mountain in Kansas, and now you’ve taken me there.

  4. Your words led me into another place and time. Away from the stress of modern life into basic living, one with nature, respect and love. Of being at ease there.
    Wonderful work!

  5. […] When the Wind Gets Tired (verbosesheis.wordpress.com) […]

  6. Awesome. The personification of the wind. You’ve done so much more than paint a picture of this place – you have sucked us into it. I can hear the wind. I can feel it on my face. Seriously awesome work.

  7. scribbla says:

    This is a marvelous read. It feels epic. The details of your descriptions and the love of your subject come through extremely stronly and swept me up – up into the mountains and the wind and the winter and the hammering and fireside chats in cabins. This is personally my favorite piece of yours! Super, super writing.

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