Wild Winds of March

Dave Sandford, Lake Erie

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky’s gray arch;
Smiling I watch the shaken elm boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.   John Greenleaf Whittier


          This has been a truly severe few weeks. If I thought 2019 was a tough year, it is nowhere near the incredible stress that has manacled almost every day since January.

          I came to Wednesday this week, worn to the bone. Incredibly, it is only February. An unbelievable number of deadlines to be met in the coming days, so much work already done, yet seemingly not a dent in that towering mountain before me.

          Late last year, heaven had sent me a belated Christmas gift in the sudden transfer of my boss. Life had become increasingly difficult under him. Job change or early retirement not being an option for me, I was glad indeed to see him go. Still, there was no remedy for the anxiety I felt about who would replace my old boss. I couldn’t help but be anxious that it’d be someone worse – based on past experience.

          From where I was, looking over the landscape of the coming months, despite my resolve to be brave and not cave in to despair, all I saw then were the endless weave of sand dunes beneath an unrelenting sun.

           Then, remembering the sign from the end of January, before daybreak of this 1st Wednesday of February, I went to St. Joseph and laid down my heart before him. I was so tired but there was still so much to do. I wanted to hope for good things, and if it wasn’t the good that I was imagining, I wanted to be brave and strong.

          Late that evening, with the primrose yellow evening sun peering determinedly over my shoulder, I received news of our new boss. What little we knew of him offered scant hope. With that last rung broken, I was completely emptied of myself. So, I gave myself up to St Joseph. Please help, I whispered. Boss. Deadlines. The rest of this year. The years left till my retirement. Please help, St. Joseph, I whispered as I rested all my burdens at his feet.

          It was night when St Joseph gently slipped my weary heart an unexpected gift. Some weeks before, I had received a beautiful gift from a dear friend, Sue Shanahan, of 2 precious and gorgeously illustrated books written by Susan Branch. I had been slowly working my way through the first book, The Fairy Tale Girl, and I had come to the final few pages. It was winter and in the book, the author had left her home in California for some months of respite from pain and sorrow, on Martha’s Vineyard. She was exchanging grief for uncertainty, yet looking also for hope and peace. I felt my heart go with her on that plane ride from California, knowing what I know now what she hadn’t known then: that her life was about to change forever. That awaiting her was truly the peace and hope she yearned for.

          What I hadn’t known was that something was waiting for me too.

          At the end of the book, on that final page, were the stirring lines from a poem,

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky’s gray arch;
Smiling I watch the shaken elm boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.  

          The words the wind of March sheared through my heart with a suddenness that took my breath away, tumbling a brook of silver~joy into the wearied gullies. The wind of March. My tired spirit was thrust high into the skies of sudden hope. March! The month of spring. Of the Feast of the Annunciation. Of news we tremulously await as a family.

Of St Joseph!

          Winds! The one element vested with certain power to still my spirit. No matter how I am feeling, the call of the winds possesses a power only heaven can bestow, to quieten the squalls in my spirit, to raise it in freeing joy. True to form, just the mere sight of the words wind of March, roused my spirit to an anthem of joyful hope.

Something in March

Something in March

Something’s coming in March

my spirit pranced about in giddy glee.

          Nothing definitive was revealed to me that Wednesday night. Nothing about my new boss nor his leadership. Nothing of how the months ahead, the years even, are going to be.

         And yet,

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky’s gray arch;
Smiling I watch the shaken elm boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March

spoke a secret to my heart.

          And then the folds of my heart closed tight upon that secret, resolutely sealing its knowledge from me, until the time of illumination.

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky’s gray arch;
Smiling, I watch the shaken elm-boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.

Between the passing and the coming season,
This stormy interlude
Gives to our winter-wearied hearts a reason
For trustful gratitude.

Blow, then, wild wind! thy roar shall end in singing,
Thy chill in blossoming;
Come, like Bethesda’s troubling angel, bringing
The healing of the Spring.










  1. Caitlynnegrace
    Emerging from my spiritual underground sanctuary this morning I was rewarded by your Angel of Bethesda, whose ancient “troubling of the waters” promised healing to the first to be immersed.


    May your troubling March winds bring the glories of spiritual rebirth to you and all of us who you inspire.

    Please hurry foreboding Angel, with your roiling winds and announce the springtime of renewed life to follow with Easter’s passionate resurrection.

    God’s Child

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God’s Child,
      I can’t believe you’re back!!
      Where have you been, I’ve been so worried. I’ve searched for you everywhere, gone back to old comments even, looking for clues as to where you might be.
      The north winds began blowing strongly just today. If it heralds the Angel of Bethesda and the Great Stirring, with joy I receive it, for it has brought you back.
      What a sweet end to the day here.
      I wish the same sweetness for you too.


  2. I’ve missed you, too, and your charming “real”-ness. I like the way you see God’s Presence in the simple beauty of your family and His awesome nature. If He is hard to discern in your challenges at work then join the crowd.
    I find him best in solitude and open space and the sacraments…not so much in “man’s world”, even though He is hidden there in unexpected ways that slip the out from the oddest corners sometimes to take me off guard. I just have to be looking up instead of down or I miss those moments.
    Where have I been? Well, busy is an understatement. Still working. Up and out by 4:00 am and home to my sweet wife by 6:00 pm. Doesn’t leave much idle time. But I love what I do and accept the challenges.
    It is nice of you care about my life. I do yours also and pray for you and yours when I can. You are a good woman.

    God’s Child

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every time we meet, here and elsewhere, it is sweet sunshine. Every time you comment, I learn something. Today it is to seek God in open spaces. Work has kept me confined to cramp quaters. But today, I will make the effort to go out and find my God🙂


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