Photography by David Marx

Back 40: This Place Where the Wind is Born

The wind is a river that cannot be dammed up; it flows
Through life here in this Chinook country, and you
Can embrace its sound or it crazies you. It forever
Funnels through that high pass to the
Southwest, snaps tall evergreens
And bends young saplings to the ground, brings
On mixed moods — both calm and strange —
And at times, like tonight, causes you
To wear fear and uncertainty like heavy
Weights. You get used to it, and cinch
Your hat down tight and keep your eye on the
Hundred-foot Doug firs that sway
In long arcs in the backyard.
Here is where the wind is born, in this place
Of freedom and distance, a wind of introspection,
Its sound sometimes that of mournful regret; and
Early winters travel on it, carpet the
Ground in light skiff that promises deeper
Stuff later on, when the short days
And longer nights are filled with time, and
Later, in early summer, wild meadows of
Painted flowers will dance tall and graceful
To its tune and hide the sun-bleached bones of
Old winter kills.

Excerpted from the full-length poem
“This Place Where the Wind is Born” by Frederick Bridger.

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