Friday, March 20, 2015
When the Wind Blows
The Woodstock Writer's Festival Story Slam was last night. Great good fun! Exciting to see so many come out for the spoken word. Thanks Woodstock Writer's Festival for making old arts so super sexy! Many more events through the weekend. Check it out: http://woodstockwriters.com/
What I would have read if I'd signed up in time (Must contain the phrase- When the Wind Blows):
When my Papa moved into our house to die, I imagined a sweet old man puttering around, till one day he wouldn’t wake up, and we’d all cry. That’s not what happened, nor who arrived. He was a gale, of hurricane force, that knocked me off course, tempered me, and left me refinished.
My mother always blamed ill temper on the Santa Anas, downslope winds that originate inland, and drive everyone crazy, while racing southwest to the water of the California coastline. Devil wind. Santa Anas whoosh all of the smog away. In their wake, everything is crisp, blue skies, a desert landscape climbing to snow capped mountains. During Santa Anas there’s a notable rise in crime, freeway gun battles, Hollywood actors in rehab,100 mile winds, forest fires, sinus infections, and generally bad tempers all around. Some surgeons say that blood won’t clot predictably during the Santa Anas, and they adjust their operating schedules accordingly.
When the wind blows off the desert, hot and dry, or fresh off the mountains, skin blistering cold, beware. This is what I know of my family, and their moods. This is the East wind my father brought with him from the West. He was a Santa Ana.
My Papa was kidnapped by Lewy Body dementia. Held hostage by its hallucinations, he held us all captive there too.
Papa had caregivers around the clock. A revolving cast of personalities that came and went, depending upon their capacity for aggressive insanity. Papa sent one nurse to the E.R.
While awake, he was visited by the ghosts of long gone friends and family, with whom he brokered forgiveness, and assigned blame, all while offering them breakfast.
At night, this ninety-four year old, retired rocket scientist, who could barely leave his wheelchair when awake, was a spy on a mission in his dreams. In those dreams turned nightmare, we were all the enemy, unseen voices, ever on the attack. He bit, he punched, he protected himself. He crawled from under his bed, as the wreckage of bombed buildings. He balanced on the bedside table to wave in incoming aircraft. We lived at the eye of this storm.
But Santa Ana winds are seasonal, inflaming everything as they whirl towards the Pacific Ocean, to be absorbed and neutralized. The devil wind always ends. The crime rate returns to normal, and more blood clots according to routine. Papa’s gone now, and, as in the wake of the Santa Anas, the atmosphere is recharged, it’s clean. When the wind blows, sometimes the cradle rocks, and the bough does break, and crocuses still poke their heads up out of the snow.