The wind has been a central element in my life since the beginning. I was fascinated by it. As a little child, I would sit on the porch, close my eyes, and use my face to search for the wind. I could feel it gently touch my forehead and lips. My black hair would lift off of my head and the breezes would play with my curls, making them dance in the wind. When I was hungry for a loving touch, I would go where the breezes blew. I was never disappointed. Their touch was gentle and yet strong, as if the hand of God had come down from heaven to touch me and let me know everything was going to be O.K. I spent hours laying in the green grass as I watched the dandelions and flowers sway in the wind to a melody only they could hear. I would gaze at clouds as they moved across the azure blue sky. Some times the clouds looked like horse tails. At other times, they were big billowy clouds that looked like cotton candy. Some days, the clouds were stacked up on one another and looked like they were expanding. We called them thunderclouds. At first, they would look lovely and then they would grow threatening. I liked watching them most of all.
Seeing the different kinds of trees bend and sway in the wind was exhilarating. Most of the oak trees were too strong to sway much. The fruit trees had more difficulty with the wind. Their branches would break, sending some of the fruit to the ground. The willow branches would whip back and forth and up and down in the wind. The trees I loved to watch most on a windy day were the cottonwoods. The leaves themselves would quiver and shake like frightened children in a haunted house. In the fall, when the leaves would turn yellow and sway in the wind, the trees shimmered like gold. There is not a prettier sight, in my eyes, than yellow-gold cottonwood trees in a deep blue sky.
When the storm clouds rolled in and the wind blew hard, I would go out into the rain and stand, letting the force of the wind rock me on my feet. I would cry the tears locked up inside that could not fall at any other time. The wind has always been my friend. It was only fitting that, after my Spirit Walk, I was given the name Yu/stan/kema which means, ” She who stands in the face of the wind.”