Katabatic Winds: On Moving With The Flow Of Emotion, Not Against It

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Yesterday, my glorious patchy pony and I went for a ride across the inlet. The top layer of earth was thin baked, the sky holding heat enough to dry out the narrow slice of saltwater lying atop the sand, sunbathing at low tide. I learned a new word yesterday for the air stream we were riding into: katabatic winds. A tumbling of winds that flow downwards, the forces of gravity pulling the higher density air downhill towards its lower density sister, and out towards the sea.

I smiled to think of this; the old volcano, Mopanui, behind me. The flats of the tidal estuary before me. Her hands catching the elements of the sky, hurling them across to her Pacific Ocean cousin.

Riding with the winds creates a curious silence. It instantly absorbs all sounds save the sound of its own voice. I speak out loud to Merc but the wind all but makes me muted. I surrender to her powers, happy to accept my smallness. My communications to my horse will have to come through body conversation alone.

It feels appropriate, right, and welcome to be caught up in the elements. I am bored of my own head, tired of my own internal world. I’ve had a week where my insides tremble quietly, for no other reason that some days, some months it feels a lot to be a human being making their way across this planet.

I feel so grateful for my horse, an island of respite. When I see him, my heart remembers:

I have chosen him, and he has chosen me, and we have agreed not to let each other go.

Whatever forces conspired to let that be, I pray to them with my eternal thanks.

As I ride, I think to myself how our emotions are like katabatic winds, ever tumbling down towards the sea. To ride against them is to feel the wind whip against our face; we struggle to stand up.

To ride with them is both to be silenced and be changed. The winds tell me that today, they aren’t interested in my story. They do not want to hear about the thought streams in my head. That if I surrender to the silence, they will pick me and move me, if I allow it to be so.

I squeeze my legs, urge Merc onwards to a canter. Sometimes, the wordless emotions that we feel require wordless experiences for the answer.

Sometimes, it not about showing up with perfection, or wrestling with our insides in another battle of control.

Sometimes, it’s simply showing up and allowing yourself to be changed.

It’s recognizing the forces that swirl around you, all ingredients for a necessary alchemy of which you are a part.

The wind, the water, the sky, the earth, and the four hooves that carry you.


❤️ Jane


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