Thursday, May 7, 2009

"This Shaking Keeps Me Steady"



One summer when I was little, I became awfully afraid of the wind.  Even a breeze that stirred the aspen leaves just a little...I would start to shake, myself.  On a beautiful scuddy-ho day, when the wind whipped the lake to froth and whitecaps and gusted through the trees, the trees that had stood for a hundred years and would continue to stand though to my mind they seemed hardly able to bear the wind's pressure...I would hide in the bathroom with the shower running so that I couldn't hear.  I might be persuaded to go down to the lake, on a sunny windy day, but would do no more than bob about with my hands pressed firmly over my ears and my eyes squeezed shut.  No one could understand it, although they would run the shower for me and let me hide when I insisted sobbingly.

But I knew, though I couldn't tell anyone, that the wind was as wild outside as I felt inside.  If I listened to it, if I caught the least glimpse of the aspen leaves turning inside out, some part of me that I held in check by fraying poorly knotted old ropes would break free and destroy me with its terrible shaking.

That is what it felt like to be little and afraid.

I  don't remember what made the wind all right again, but within the span of that same summer, suddenly, it was.  

I don't mind it at all now, really I love a strong, fresh wind, and can barely remember those days; but I remember the fear.




32 comments:

Dakota Bear said...

Interesting story about a childhood memory. It's amazing how things can frighten us when we are children, often we don't know how it started. Then one day we realize that fright has gone away. Happy to know you now enjoy the wind.

Sandra Leigh said...

Perhaps you are calmer on the inside now, more sure of your own strength, so the wind isn't such a threat. I hope so. Your story made me very uneasy, then very grateful for the last two paragraphs.

Jimmy Bastard said...

I've watched you for quite a while being afraid of many things. In some cases the different scenarios have caused anxiety and tears.

I've also watched you deal with them head on after seeking the comfort of words from others.

Each time you have conquered the fear, and slain the beast most admirably. It's what makes you so unique, and a pleasure to observe.

Brian Miller said...

thanks for being transparent...so much wind blows externally and internally shaping and molding who we become. what once was a scared little girl grows up by learning to handle those winds. great post.

Debo Hobo said...

wind is a powerful thing. It can blow things to your or away from you.

Wings said...

Funny what can be so frightening when we are children! Great post.

Dot-Com said...

Nice trip down memory lane. Guess we can't always explain why we become afraid of something, and the wind is powerful, so... Maybe it all makes sense :-) Good you've learned to enjoy the wind.

Marianna said...

Interesting and strange fear...but then again I was afraid of hens so who am I to talk :)

The video was great...it had a calming effect on me.

xoxo

Leah said...

Dakota Bear--it's true, although I know what the wind symbolized for me, sort of, I don't know how it started. Ah well, it's all very psychodynamic isn't it!

Sandra--you're probably right. It's always strange looking back on childhood thoughts and feelings...

Jimmy--you know, I keep impulsively posting these maybe overly confessional posts, and then immediately regretting it, but not taking them down. Because you're right that I've found a great deal of comfort in words met with words; and I thank you for yours.

Brian--my husband suggested this post, actually. He's heard the story of my odd fear of the wind for so many years. But then he also suggested that he would write about breaking wind if it were his post...but then again Just Bob has that admirably covered!

Debo Hobo--that is a wonderful way of putting it.

Wings--it is strange, isn't it?

Dot-Com--The wind is inherently much more powerful than we are, so that part does make sense. What's amazing is just how much I love a windy rainy day now!

Marianna--I'm glad you liked the video! You were afraid of hens? Was it their scratchy little claws or their beady little eyes? Hens are a little freaky, I must say...lol

Ronda Laveen said...

I know this sounds weird but this makes me suddenly understand why my dog and little kids DO get so scared. They can barely hold it together. Thanks for providing me another link in the chain of understanding.

nick said...

I suppose when we're small we don't have the clear inner-outer boundaries we develop later on, so when you saw the wind battering the trees you thought of it as battering you too. Well, that's one interpretation anyway. Good that you grew out of it so quickly.

Tom said...

The sound of wind is a lot like the sound of the surf... i love the creaking of the trees, the sound of trash cans rolling down the street..

Auntie, aka Dog Girl said...

Wow.
It's strange what goes through the mind of young children.

This is the kind of insight that will make you a great mother.

The Silver Fox said...

I'll add my comments to those saying we're glad these fears passed. Some never do.

Baino said...

Leah I still hate the wind. I mean a gentle breeze is one thing but huge swaying trees scare the bejeezus out of me. Sticks flying around and leaves pelting down. I hate the noise of it on the roof. I'm not sure whether it's fear or worry that some huge branch is going to do real damage but I just can't stand it. Good that you conquered your fear.

C.M. Jackson said...

lovely story--conquering your fear and understanding the wild thing inside--wind is an amazing force --it makes me feel alive and able to co-exist with the wild things inside. great post.

best-c

Kris said...

My toddler has been trying to avoid things by saying, "no, too windy!"

Maybe he's frightened.

Megan said...

That's a fascinating look into your childhood.

MJ said...

Don't sit downwind from Old Knudsen after he's eaten a bean burrito.

kylie said...

a really strong wind still scares me.
i remember being away for the weekend once where the house we had rented stood not far from a cliff. young keaghan was utterly terrified that the house would blow off the cliff

savannah said...

that is a wonderful story, sugar! i'm glad your self-censoring never gets the upper hand! xoxox

Mrsupole said...

So many things can scare us as children, usually it is because we do not understand what it truly is. But the wind can still scare grown adults if it whips up into a fierce and destructive wind, so your fear was not necessarily unfounded. It is just maybe now you know when it is a gentle caressing breeze or a gale force wind.

As always a great story, thank you for sharing.

God bless.

reyjr said...

it does have an eerie sound when the wind is blowing. and you get a foreboding feeling of danger.

i especially find it unsettling when there's a coming storm...

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Thanks for the link, Leah. Appreciated and reciprocated - in a moment or two.

Cheers.

Madame DeFarge said...

Stairs frightened me as a child, as I used to keep falling down them. I never quite got over this and it was only compounded when I fell down a flight of stairs as an adult and broke my ankle badly. As a child, I just bounced, so that wasn't so bad.

I really enjoyed this post.

Karen ^..^ said...

You were a very interesting child.

I'm sad for you that you felt such uncontrollable fear. I used to have an irrational fear of our next door neighbor's house burning down, and catching our house on fire. Not of our house starting the blaze, but the house next door. Weird. It kept me awake nights.

I also worried that a plane would crash into our house. I worried about that one a lot.

I loved the wind, and the rain, and all the elements, but fire scared the daylights out of me.

I was afraid of pretty much everything as a small girl, but then I started reading Stephen King novels and stopped being afraid of everything.

I'm glad you got over it.

Suzanne said...

Hi baby. You survived all that and I'm grateful because you found me and I found you. Through wind, rain and snow. Honey, do you secretly work for the Postal Service?

What?

XO

just bob said...

Hey, I didn't have to look up any of the words you used. I must be getting smahter.

Emerson Marks said...

That's interesting, Leah. Because when I was a kiddie there was this particular place that used to give me the willies.

Netley Country Victoria Country Park. It faces out onto the Solent - the water that leads out to the English Channel, and faces out onto Fawley power station.

Always something a bit odd I could never put my finger on about that place.

Leah said...

Ronda--I would definitely have felt a little less embarrassed if my dog had been hiding with me! Unfortunately, we had brave dogs...I'm glad this gives some insight though! : )

nick--actually, I love your interpretation and I think it's dead right.

Tom--very poetic! And that's exactly how I feel about the sound of the wind now, as an adult.

Auntie--I do try to use such insights in my own parenting. Although with me the danger is, because I was so fearful as a child, will I attribute fears to Hedgehog that she simply doesn't have. She's really such a bold little girl!!

Silver Fox--you are so right--some never do and I can testify to that, alas!

Baino--it's understandable though--as grown-ups we can appreciate the realer dangers of it. Although, paradoxically, now I love extreme weather...

C--I love what you said...that wind "makes me feel alive and able to co-exist with the wild things inside"! That's how I feel as an adult.

Kris--maybe he is nervous about the wind and is attributing windy qualities to other things that make him nervous! It's sort of funny in a poignant way, I must say.

Megan--I was a fascinating little head case ; )

Leah said...

MJ--too late!

Kylie--That is a terrifying but completely understandable fear! I've always wondered about those houses on the bluffs...

savannah--thank you so much for the affirmation! It makes me feel much less silly for posting such private little strangenesses...

Mrsupole--it's an interesting point you make. When is a not-entirely-unfounded fear sensible, when is it too much? I guess when it interferes with your functioning, it's too much. But you're right that children don't always discriminate between the levels of something like that, something that can be honestly scary. Thanks for the comment!

reyjr--yes! The difference now is that I enjoy that nervous feeling quite a bit--it can be exciting somehow.

SnoopytheGoon--yay! thanks for visiting. I'm such a fan.

Mme. deF.--it is the very worst thing when one's fears are corroborated like that! Oh dear.

Karen!--it's funny that Stephen King helped you get over your fears. I think he helped himself get over many many fears by writing about the worst things he could think of, so maybe it makes sense.

Suzy!--I'd be the worst postal worker, I'd probably coop somewhere at the first sign of a storm, in a little rented studio apartment on my route complete with cable tv and a hot plate for cocoa...

Just Bob--I didn't have to look up any of these words either! ; )

Emerson--that sounds wonderfully/awfully spooky! And I wonder why. I love that sort of thing now.

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! Leah,
Leah said,"That is what it felt like to be little and afraid.
I don't remember what made the wind all right again, but within the span of that same summer, suddenly, it was."


What a memory to share about your
fear of the "wind" when you were a small child. And how in the blink of an "eye" your fear of the "wind" subsided to a "certain degree."

Leah, I hope that you have a Happy Mother's Day tomorrow.
Thanks, for sharing!
Take care!
DeeDee ;-D