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Wind Made Body

Updated: Mar 10

The sights and sounds recorded in this piece have been and continue to be seen and heard by indigenous peoples, for the lands that gave rise to this piece remain the unceded, ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok and Muwekma Ohlone peoples. With this land acknowledgement, I hope to both commemorate the history of this land and the present vitality of Native Peoples.
 

There is no metabolic process to harvest the energy of wind. Still, organisms, in the face of blowing wind, are shaped by its presence. The cypress tree along a breezy bluff will curve horizontally to join the flow of air. The coyote brush on an exposed slope will grow squatter, denser to minimize wind exposure. No grazing needed; wind will keep grasses low. But wind is no gardener. Wind is not alive. The air that forms wind moves by force, not by hand. And yet, I feel there is something lifelike embodied by the blowing air. In wind, I feel something of change, of constant, turbulent motion that both transcends and unifies time and space. I feel a wind that blows from another land, a wind that blows from the past, a wind that blows from the future.


A future, clouded by environmental change, looms on my horizon, as I am asked to contend with a windswept and turbulent present. I am seeking refuge in an ever-changing flow. How do I reconcile what has been lost, as I set out to build my own life? I have learned to listen—to feel the beating pulse of the places around me as they change. I seek a transfiguration of the pain embodied by environmental change into something bearable, to envision a world that celebrates the human ecological system. I seek a wind made song, a song that sings my own name, yours.


I listen deeper. I try but can’t always understand what I hear. I feel myself shaped, growing horizontal.


 

Act I

As the outstretched hands reach into light beams,

As the beech roots reach into river streams,

As the coyote dips its head into the flood of my dreams,

the feathers unfurl.

Skin of neck taught and trembling,

limbs long and jangling,

the meadowgrass wet and writhing,

my limbs too, they reach.


---


Act II

Water,

thick and black,

foam alight by the moon.

I reach my hand in

and the bottom gives way

to the electric and primordial.


---


Prey in the dark room.

Two lovers,

arms embraced,

turn away as they whisper to one another.


Across town,

in cuts and bruises,

lies the body of a mouse,

fur soft and supple in death.


And in the lake,

grasses flutter in waves

as the lovers whisper.

The breath caresses.


And it seems,

for just a moment,

that the mouse too,

might breathe again.


---


Act IIII

linger in the light the way the flies do—

above the ceanothus,

in hoards soaking up the sun and copulating,

thinking it’s spring when we’re still in the throes of winter.

At least the ceanothus knows not to bloom.

It still has wisdom in its waxy leaves.

There are no blue buds to soften

the truth of this dissolution.

But do you blame me for feasting in the light?




 

Diego Rafael Perez is pursuing an MS in Biology at Stanford University. Diego’s research currently focuses on drought, and he is broadly interested in conserving biodiversity in a changing world. You can find more of his work at http://www.diegorafael.com.


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