The Clever North Wind

At the beginning of the movie Chocolat, on a winter day, a sly wind blows in from the north, bringing a chocolatier and her six-year-old daughter to town, and the people and the place will be forever changed.

At the end of the movie, after all the changes, the narrator changes her tune, and instead of calling the north wind “sly,” she called it “clever: “But still the clever north wind was not satisfied. It spoke to Vianne of towns yet to be visited, friends in need yet to be discovered, battles yet to be fought…

Yesterday, a north wind blew through here, though I don’t know how sly or clever it was. It simply blew, fierce and cold.

I suppose it’s just as well. As romantic as the north wind’s gifts might be, a chocolate store would be too tempting. I wouldn’t listen if it spoke to me of towns yet to be visited since I’m still settling into my not-so-new town (my three-year anniversary of moving here is coming up in another few weeks). I’m not actively looking for new friends in need or otherwise, though I am always appreciative when I do make new friends. As for battles or any kind of strife? Not my style. I’m more into peace and contentment and even laziness.

What my north wind did bring was frozen air. As I walked home from work, wrapping my coat tightly around me and bending into the wind to keep from being blown off my feet, I could see what looked like the beginning of a snow shower, but the barely visible ice particles never made it to the ground. At least not during my walk. There was some snow this morning when I woke, though luckily not enough to have to sweep away.

I always walk home from work (well, not always — there was one cold evening when it rained too heavily to be safe, so I did accept a ride then), but last night, I almost turned back to catch a ride. By then, I was halfway home so it wouldn’t have done me any good. I tried walking backward, as I used to do when the wind blew into my face, but apparently, as well as my knees are behaving, they didn’t appreciate the backward maneuver. Still, I got home safely, and though the wind blew through the night, by this morning it had moved on to tempt other folks in other place with dreams of towns yet to be visited, friends in need to be discovered, and battles yet to be fought.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

4 Responses to “The Clever North Wind”

  1. Estragon Says:

    I take the north wind as a reminder of the constancy of change. Around here, a north wind tends to be associated with the passing of a frontal system, and often with the change of seasons. Absent that wind, I might get complacent and maybe a little too settled. A walk in it tends to help blow the cobwebs out a bit.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      During the first years after Jeff died, I lived in a desert area that was exceedingly windy. That was the only time in my life I didn’t mind the wind. Not only did it blow the cobwebs out, but my internal weather was so horrid, that any external weather couldn’t compete.

  2. Judy Galyon Says:

    I understand how rough that can be. Myself & the woman who rode with me then were walking to the garage one afternoon & were very nearly swept away before we finally made it to my car. The north wind can be very dangerous, even for those of us that were young back in the day.

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