It was rainy, dark and windy last night in Texas, the raindrops striking the ground and walls in unexpected, unpredictible rhythms. As I sketched the North Wind for my iPad “drawing a day” project, I tried to draw this weather; or rather, my feelings about it, and my imagination of it.
As usual, there were several contenders for a title – although I often know what it is I am going to draw, I enjoy waiting until the last moment to be inspired as to just the right words to express even more than I put in the picture. The North Wind does not blow in Texas. The winds here come from the sea, and strange places of the world that I don’t know with intimacy. The North Wind does blow in Yorkshire, and through my childhood. We soak up our first experiences in life in a way that we never manage to do again.
The cold winds of winter will always be the North Wind for me, blowing from the Arctic, from Scandinavia, or Iceland. It is the wind of winter coats, with fake-fur linings and plastic tooth-shaped toggle buttons to close it. It will blow particularly strongly down the long snicket between the park and our school through which I walked each day. The wind brought the future with it, that was yet to happen, but might be filled with exciting journeys, new experiences, color and beauty.
The sound of the wind is the sound of the poem we used to sing:
The North Wind Doth Blow
And we shall have snow
And what shall poor Robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing.
There are no impressions as strong as those we absorb as we grow. It precedes our critical faculties, and these experiences exist in a world in which anything might be possible. When we are older, we know that the North Wind is just a direction, and a weather pattern. But to us as imaginative humans creating the world anew with each birth, it’s the narrative we write around our lives, to give them meaning and connect our feelings with the events of the world.
Parents, let your kids dream.