Monday, April 13, 2009
WAITING FOR A SUMMER WIND
Today was overcast and chilly (+6C/42F) with a strong wind that lowered the temperature even further. The only consolation for me was that it was an offshore wind, so there were no deafening waves, and no sheets of spray whipped against my back windows to leave them gray and streaked. The back porch is what’s called a “Florida room” around here. It’s meant to be a 3-season room, closed off in winter with a sliding glass doorwall, but it can get too hot in there in the sticky days of mid-summer. It’s at its best on sunny days in late spring or early fall. That’s what I’m waiting for now. A day when the onshore breeze is just right, the waves are behaving themselves, and I can tilt the porch windows open wide and invite the beautiful day to come inside. These are the moments when my collection of wind bells and chimes gently sound, after months of silence.
In the east side of the porch there’s a Tibetan bell my friend Arlie brought me from a little store on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia that sells Buddhist supplies to the locals. There’s also a long, elegant windbell that Sydney brought me from Arcosanti, and a little frog bell I bought at a garden store in Alberta’s High Country. Tucked in the corner is a string of rusted metal turtles with a small-but-heavy bell from India at the very bottom. This used to hang outside on my deck in the foothills, and when the wind would begin to blow hard enough to ring this bell, I’d know it was time to go out and batten down a few things.
In the west corner is a pretty chime with stamped metal birds flying around a central tube, a Chinese chime made of old cash coins that were painted, now chipped and worn, and finally there’s the one silent hanging object in the room – a painted lantern made from a can with spiraling designs punched into it with an awl, held up by a cast iron monkey. There are a few other small chimes scattered around, including a tin fish on the south window. It’s a room full of memories of good times and good friends; always a pleasure to look at, even more wonderful to sit beneath and listen.