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Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Was it just yesterday that I was bragging about how I've become immune to the weather by living out here in the country for one whole year? Did I say that my allergies don't bother me as much as they did when I lived in town? Was I whistling in the graveyard, taking a few good days to mean my problems were solved?

A mighty wind blew through the acreage today, and it all came back to me. The head full of used motor oil, draining constantly down the back of my throat. The eyes stinging and watery. The runny nose, and the inevitable nosebleed from constantly using a tissue.

On top of all this, papers kept blowing off my desk, negating the benefits of my highly nonstandard vertical filing system by landing upside down in an even more random order than I'd stacked them in the first place.

Another effect of the wind had little to do with allergies. The electricity in the dry air made everything I touched a source of shock. And the same sparks seemed to be firing off in my brain, because I was wired. Third-cup-of-coffee wired. Bundled with latent energy and bouncing off the walls.

The wind also kept me indoors more than I wanted to be. With all the excess energy, I had a mind to Go Somewhere or Do Something. I just didn't have enough focus to make a decision about Where or What. Ordinarily I'd just strap on my gardening gloves and pull weeds, but the yard waste container is so full that I'm afraid of what might blow away when I open it.

This butterfly was bigger than a hummingbird, but it didn't like the wind much, either.

The stereophonic whoosh of the wind, blowing furiously through the trees all around me, was the sound of my day, louder and more insistent than even the birds.

Not long ago, I would automatically turn on the stereo every morning, as I got myself set for the day's work. The soundtrack of my day was whatever examples of my eclectic music collection happened to catch my attention. It could be anything from Dmitri Shostakovich to Michelle Shocked.

Since I moved out here, and since the weather has allowed it, I just open the door in the morning and let nature sing me through my day. I still like all those different kinds of music, and some days that's still what I want to hear, but it's not an automatic decision any more.

Most of the time this doesn't hamper my productivity, but sometimes I'm drawn to the door with my binoculars in my hand, tracking the flight of the local ducks, or searching the branches of the old oak for the source of an unfamiliar song. Still, I think I'm better off with these distractions than I was without them.

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