Thursday, March 16, 2017

The cleansing wind

"The wind blows loudest when you've got your eyes closed"
- "Organs" by Of Monsters and Men

Me on the Polarstern pilot deck, 2012.
There is something about cold wind that makes me feel clean. I breathe it in, sucking icicles deep into my lungs, and somehow, everything vanishes. I feel refreshed, calm, and hollow.

I remember when I first discovered the effect that cold wind had on me. It was 2011, and I was on R/V Polarstern, at 78° N in the Arctic. Whenever I had a break from the lab, I would go outside on the pilot deck - the highest accessible point on the ship, essentially the roof of the bridge. I would face the bow, into the wind, and relish the piercing cold penetrating my lungs. It was best if we were steaming.

Today, when I went out to check my monitoring plates on the WHOI dock, I couldn't help but stop for a second and notice the wind. It's been wicked this week - we actually had a nor'easter on Tuesday - and the air is the coldest it's been all winter. I walked to the end of the dock and closed my eyes. Taking as deep a breath as I could manage, I welcomed frigid fingers of air into my lungs. I was cleansed.

It's been a full week. Between building samplers for a cruise this summer, getting feedback from colleagues on my succession study, analyzing a dataset in Matlab, and applying for grants for future projects, I have a full schedule. Don't get me wrong - I prefer to have multiple projects going at once - but it's also important to relax. To find peace in the midst of chaos. To stand on the dock for a second and listen to the wind.

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