Written on the wind

The bicycle lay by its stanchion like a felled horse struggling to get up. The wind had knocked it over, and we suddenly remembered that this was March. Weathermen had been talking enough about gusts and gales. It just hadn't sunk in that air in motion was what anybody in the northern temperate zone should expect between February and April.

And isn't anybody fortunate who lives where the atmosphere is not always complacently still? Wait till the bell jar of August settles over the land. Then a fair-minded person will say that March had its points.

Thanks, we needed that breeze plucking at our sleeves, reminding us there might possibly be a reason to get a move on. The blown boughs creaking outside the window make the room with the lowered thermostat almost cozy. The spanking, slapping puffs in the streets turn plodding into skipping. When the air is alive everything is alive.

Recommended: 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize: 7 (not 5) nominees

Perhaps March seems a mixed blessing when coasting down a hill on a bike feels like being pressed against a wall. But suppose, by some extraordinary switch, the blast and you are buoyantly going in the same direction. Obviously you must have committed some small virtue that is now being grandly rewarded. And when the blast is over, whether you've been with it or against it, on wheels or on foot, there's that sharp sense of calm which would have gone unfelt without the turbulence.

Funny thing about the winds of March. They are as welcome when they stop as when they start.

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