Friday, February 26, 2021

From My Nature Journal: Uitwaaien

Ebey's Landing State Park beach, bluff in background
Had a white-knuckle winter walk at dusk last evening along the beach at Ebey’s Landing State Park -- stinging winds, fifty and sixty mile-per-hour blasts, car-sized waves, gale warnings on sea, high wind warnings on land. Recalling similar balance-challenging walks like that from butte tops in central Colorado, gusts seemed to penetrate through my body, clothes flapping, ears splitting, skin tingling. As long as I’m safe from hypothermia, I’ve always experienced winds like this as exhilarating, refreshing, even spirit cleansing.

Who knew that the Dutch had a word for that, and with characteristic vowel-rich Dutchness to boot!

I receive a daily word of the day on my phone from Dictionary.com, and it surprises me, for an English language dictionary, how often these can be foreign-language terms. I’ve certainly never heard most of them in conversation! The word is uitwaaien, only three consonants in the nine letters. Wouldn’t THAT be a way to use up all those vowels at the end of a Scrabble game! 

First, try pronouncing it. Uitwaaien. 

If you came up with out-vine, you’d be correct. I wasn’t even close. And here’s the definition: the Dutch practice of jogging or walking into the wind, especially in the winter, for the purpose of feeling invigorated while relieving stress and boosting one’s general health. I can’t say that I disagree with the concept at all. But does that mean that the return walk is stressful and depressing? Probably not, just watch your balance, especially on a bluff or cliff trail. 

Last night, as often before, the powerful impression for me as a Jesus-follower is wind as the piercing breath of God’s Holy Spirit, blowing through me, flowing through me, enlivening, quickening, enervating, purging. “The breath of heaven,” I say. Some would say, “It’s just wind!” On the contrary, with this I do disagree, having often experienced the synergies of spiritual realities and natural wonders. Why ever would one think that God doesn’t routinely communicate through both the simple and grand things of his natural world? God is an artist, a master designer, with much to teach through his works. 

In this particular case, I’m reminded of the words of an old hymn:

Breathe on me, breath of God.

Fill me with life anew,

That I may love what Thou dost love

And do what Thou wouldst do.


Breathe on me, breath of God

‘Til I am wholly Thine,

Until this earthly part of me

Glows with Thy fire divine.

~~ Edwin Hatch, 1878

The NOAA high wind warning last evening has downgraded to an advisory overnight, but perhaps I’ll get out later today for another go at it, and this time maybe even go up the bluff, careful for my footing.

Get outside. Or, shall I say, “Get uitwaaien.” My mother always said there was a little Dutch in us kids anyway.

~~ RGM, February 26, 2021

2 comments:

  1. Rick, you post about what was my mother's favorite place on earth, and I see you also now reside in her favorite town. Thanks for some good memories as I read you blog this a.m. God's peace to you.... Paul Anderson, MN (Covenant Living)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Paul, how cool! Precious to hear. This became our home about three years ago when we decided to be near some of our kids, but the Seattle area was both too busy and too expensive. We're happy to have found this place. Come visit! Thanks for the memory and the note. Grace and peace back...

      Delete