Sometimes I’m the girl that walks around all day looking like she’s worried. I catch myself doing it. When my eyes are squinting, when I’m self-inducing a headache, when my brow is caved in like an “11.” Today I am the girl walking around like this, and I can’t stop. I can’t stop because that would mean trying to tell myself I’m not in love. And on a day like today, I’ve picked an impossible task.
I’m distracted by the warm wind brewing in the sky, swirling everything up and away. Turning leaves into mini tornadoes and peeling away bark like sunburns on summer lovers. Stealing color from trees with branches like puny arms that can’t put up a fight. The leaves are shifting from green to red, like stop lights in the midst of impending rush hour traffic. Today the wind has made me stop and revel in nature, in the colors of the sky, and tomorrow will be the same. I notice the colors changing and pretend it’s a real season, but it’s really just a season of wind. I’m up early enough to see the sunrise, walking to my car but pulling my puffy coat tight and steadying my balance against the wind. A day that can literally knock you off your feet before it even begins. Two days into autumn, and I had already seen gold fall from the sky.
From the sky they come, like whooshing spirits hunting down our souls. Maybe that’s why they seem alive. They’ve floated around the city building a gale force worthy of Hollywood’s silver screen and stolen a little bit of life from everyone like a movie witch. Because of this, I’ve nicknamed the Santa Ana’s “the silver winds.” Silver screen queens. Silver waiting to be polished. A delicate, glistening silver thread connecting us all in one way or another. A silver space ship waiting to come take me away. Silver gates that can’t protect you. Silver coins tossed into the unseen waters of a wishing well. Silver robots and shiny silver cars whirring around trying to find love on our silver phones. We’re all too high tech to not feel the least bit lost sometimes.
The wind whips through my hair, then inevitably through someone else’s hair twenty miles away and one hundred miles as fast. It passes through people as fast as humans do in err of love. This wind is like a horrible lover we try and forget. We try sleeping to forget a little bit about their destruction, but tomorrow we wake with that same howling outside our windows and uneasiness in our hearts. Tomorrow we will be reminded of their havoc. Their aftermath in piles of pine needles, hitchhiking tumbleweeds, and neighborhood umbrellas sunken into glassy pools. Trash strewn across once perfectly manicured lawns like a high class wasteland. I run over a pinecone with a sharp crunch. I almost feel bad, as if it was alive. This makes me question everything.
The Santa Ana winds make me crazy with heart ache. I am unable to separate the matters of the heart from my head. The longing for something we think we can reach, but something the wind keeps blowing farther away. Like the thing we wish for on our birthday candle before blowing it out. It’s knowing it exists in my heart and even if I say it out loud, I have never been farther from the truth. What loving someone truly means. If I’m capable of loving someone forever. The fear that I’m incapable of being loved forever.
I need a distraction so I decide to bake an apple pie, which is very out of my character. With the silver winds we are all a little bit not ourselves. I stare at the six yellow apples sitting in a bowl slowly turning to mush. All of the sudden I’m not thinking about pie anymore, I’m reminded of Ray Bradbury’s Golden Apples of the Sun, a collection of short stories that ends with a quote from a poem by W.B. Yeats:
“And pluck till time and times are done The silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun.”
A poem that was over a hundred years old had found me the way things we love to read often do again and again. It was a poem about searching your entire life for someone you loved. This short story made me question things, question everything. There is a question, unlike the winds, that won’t just be there one day and vanish the next. It rushes like the silver winds through swaying gas lanterns and dancing with the flame before smashing the glass to smithereens. The question that takes me higher than the golden sun or silver moon. Who is the person you’ve lost that haunts you like these winds?
It was funny how a bowl of apples and baking a pie could make you feel like that in an entire afternoon. In the howling afternoon wind.