Monday, July 22, 2013

Monsieur wind what does he say

These were the first reported words of Thomas Merton, the Cistercian monk and writer, recorded by his diligent and cerebral mother. Given that he became an accomplished listener to the Spirit that blows where it chooses, shaping his remarkable vocation and life, they may be thought of as highly symbolic if not prophetic. It is no doubt why his biographers (of which there are no apparent end) love them so!

They often spring to mind when I find myself listening to the wind of which there is plenty of opportunity here in eastern Crete! It is memorably fierce, springing up seemingly unbidden by any obvious weather condition, and blowing robustly for hours. It does have a pleasing variability, multiple voices, rather than the persistent drone that is Provence's Mistral - a wind that can bend the mind round obsession and to madness (You can even use it as a mitigating circumstance in murdering your partner in French law - disgruntled lovers take note)!

But though it can be disturbing at night creating patterning sounds of the estraging in an unfamiliar place, it can to be accompanying a sense of being wrapped round in forces other than those purportedly at the will's command. There is another world wrapped around this familiar one that invites attention (to adjust the words of the poet Celan) that you can lie in the early morning, listening to, ' Monsieur wind, what are you saying?' as you wait for your companions to wake, having indulged a shared fantasy last night that it would be early!

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