Obviously, it’s not Cyclone Idai, for which a great Disasters Emergency Committee fund has been set up to help the millions (millions! — millions and millions!) of people in Mozambique around the metropolitan area of Beira who have been flooded out. It doesn’t scarcely even count, but for us, living here, it’s wearing just the same. I’m definitely getting tired of the wind, of being assaulted by the rain, and we should be used to it by now, up in the high fellsides of Sparty Lea!
It just seems to suck away any energy we might have to do outside chores, things we’d ordinarily love to pursue, but to which the wind says, ‘Nah, don’t bother with that today.’ On the other hand, I’m reminded of the fable of the challenge between the Wind and the Sun: who could make the gentle traveller take off his coat? After much huffing and puffing, Wind had to admit defeat, so tightly did the traveller wrap his coat around himself, and so Sun took up its position, high in the sky, and beamed down, gently at first, to warm the air, then increasing in thermal energy, turning the atmosphere hot and hotter, until finally the traveller took off his coat as he sat under the shade of a sweltering tree. One to the Sun then! But when things have to be done, the wind is just an annoyance to bluster through, and so I blustered along feeding gentleman Plough this morning.
We feel the wind so much more like a living entity up here, than folks do down in the village. It pushes and bashes us, our buildings, the trees that have managed to survive by bending, the birds and animals that are sent careering headlong down the hill, the horses that kick up their heels and shake their heads in annoyance as they prance anxiously over the field. Its gusts envelope us and tear at our hair, our coats, and mock our efforts to turn our back to it, or to find shelter in any available lea. It whistles through the house, deriding all my sealing efforts. It pulls down great branches onto the road and creates havoc with large sided vehicles who are at great danger from sudden gusts. It tears polytunnels apart, ripping nasty gouges and flapping them inexorably until the whole structure is wrecked. It shrieks and blows, roaring and grumbling in an intermittent smear of noise. Enough, we say through gritted teeth, blow yourself out and leave us alone for a little while!
But on and on it blows, and our spirits sink lower by the hour. If the power goes, we’ll start up the generator and keep ourselves warm and lit and connected — we’ve come that far in survival mode. We’ll hunker down in the living room, in the heart of the house and well-protected from the onslaught, enjoy the wood fire which has enough draft to withstand any gale, and be cosy and comfy.
And then, as late last week, it rains. Rains and rains and rains. The roads are flooded, hard to navigate, sometimes giant 4WDs aquaplane through with aplomb, raising feelings of vicious road rage from drivers of other, less sophisticated cars. The roof leaks when the wind comes in the wrong direction, driving water up through the tiles and down through decomposing felting. A line of drips we’ve come to recognise, and the buckets come out. The rain falls, the wind blows, the roof leaks, and it’s all a mess. Time to stay at home and wait for the wind to blow off the rain, dry up the ground, recover slowly, before the next weather front bearing more rain.
Maybe we’ll watch the news, shocked at the utter devastation brought on by Idai, and feel guilty at our annoyance over a bit of wind, a bit of rain, a bit of inconvenience we can easily accommodate, really. Suddenly, comparatively, we realise quite how fortunate we are, and we try to allay our discomfiture by reaching for the debit card, making a quick donation, hoping some lives will be helped. Hoping the winds will blow themselves and the rain out wherever they’re causing devastation. Hoping people will find a place of safety once again.