​Windy Days

Mike McGough
March 2020

It was one of the windiest days in recent months. Trees that still had some leaves swayed rather briskly as the winds hit them. It was cool. The wind made it feel almost cold. Leaving his house, he headed north for a short distance. The wind was coming in intermittent gusts, and as he headed north he was heading directly into it. Each gust brought down a few more leaves that crunched under his feet as he stepped on them. At times the wind was brisk enough that he wondered if it was slowing him down just a bit.

In a short distance, a left turn headed him out along a wooded area. The sound of the wind in the trees was more than a whisper. It created a rushing sound that left no doubt that it was fall. Leaves and twigs from the trees that lined the north side of the road were strewn along the road, giving clear evidence of the force of the wind. However, as he jogged along the wooded area, it was clear to him that the force of the wind was diminished by the trees.

At the next intersection, his usual course headed south along an open area. The wind was at his back. It seemed to push him along. He had been jogging for nearly 40 years, and his miles were generally in the comfortable fourteen to fifteen minute range. Speed had never been his goal, and it was good that it wasn’t, because he would never have achieved it. As he headed south, he could feel the wind at his back. It seemed like it was pushing him along. He felt as though he was moving faster and easier with the wind at his back. At one point hestretched my arms out to exaggerate the effect of the wind. It felt good.

Along that leg of his course, there is a slight hill and then a turn to the left that heads him east. This section cuts through the center of open fields. There are no trees to interrupt or lessen the force of the wind. It is on this portion his jog that he hit the two-mile mark. At that point, he was just about 40 seconds ahead of his usual pace. Although that may not have been totally due to the wind, he reasoned that the wind did have some effect. He continued along that leg for several more minutes.

The last part of this route had him jogging almost due north again. The wind was once again in his face, just as it had been when hestarted. This is the longest leg of this particular, route and the effect of the wind was noticeable. He was moving slower than usual along this section of the run. During the very last piece of his jog, about a tenth of a mile, he was once again heading south and the wind was at his back.

Reentering his driveway, he looked at his watch. The forty seconds he had gained by the two-mile mark were gone. As usual, he was back in his driveway in just about 45 minutes. The total run was no faster or slower than on days when the wind was totally calm. When hethought about it, that made perfect sense. He had jogged in a circle. The wind was a constant from the north. The demands it placed on him during some portions of the run were offset by the advantages it provided during others. In the end, it all evened out, and the net effect was negligible.

From time to time, everyone feels the force of life’s winds in their faces, and at other times they feel the push of the wind at their backs. Some winds carry pressures and problems that must be confronted, dealt with, and managed. Others bring support and opportunities that can empower and move you along as they add to your momentum. Along the path of life, there will be those wooded areas, were the winds are present, but where their effect is diminished. Along other stretches, there is nothing but wide-open spaces where the wind, for good or bad, hits you full on.

As you make your way through life periodically remind yourself of this jogger’s simple lesson. As he experienced during a particularly windy day on his usual course, you too will encounter winds from time to time. Sometimes they will be at your side. On others days they will be in your face, and there will also be times when they will be at your back. If taken in stride, the winds of life that buffet you one day, will support you and help to move along the next.