Would you like to do something that doesn’t cost anything, will make you feel good, doesn’t need any specific equipment and can be practiced in most outdoor spaces?
Then come with me and lets go Wind Bathing.
The recent weather on the east coast of Ireland has been glorious, with little or no rain and absolutely no wind.
People are out walking, running, cycling.
Cars filled with children, dogs, picnics are heading to the beaches.
In the evening the smell of bar-b-ques fill the air.
We have exchanged our usual jumpers for shorts and t shirts.
I note that commuters heading for the train no longer carry that ‘just in case ‘ umbrella
There is not a waterproof jacket in sight.
Everyone seems to be flourishing in these sunny conditions.
Except a few.
Or maybe one….
You see, I thrive on windy conditions, the stormier the better.
And this summer I am grieving the lack of them.
At night I plug in my fan and, placing it by my bed, fill my sleep with dreams of wild Atlantic storms.
But its not enough and I am declining grubbily.
I desperately need a wind bath
(Before you label me as a nutcase may I remind you that Roosevelt Franklin was also a fan of this activity).
Its early morning.
I am sitting at my table writing when I first hear it.
Cocking my ear in the direction of the open patio door, I listen more intently.
There it is again.
A faint rustling sound
I try not to get my hopes up and put my head down concentrating on my story.
It’s louder now.
Unable to resist, I lean sideways on my chair and take a peek outside.
My bamboo leaves are all aflutter, quivering the way bamboo leaves do when stirred by breezes.
And looking over the valley, I see the clouds skidding drunkenly across the face of Sugar loaf.
Without stopping to close my laptop and barely taking time to lock the door, I am gone.
To the place of WIND of course.
Carnsore point was a quiet coastal spot on the southeast tip of Ireland until 1978 when it came to the attention of the country.
Yes! The Irish Government of the time, (Fianna fáil) decided it would be a good idea to plonk a nuclear power plant there.
All hell broke loose.
Carnsore point was woken from its gentle sleepy backwater as the good people of Ireland descended upon it and colored its flowery meadows with tents and vans.
And as the stage was being set up and the guitars and drums and microphones produced, people opened their mouths and sang out together in fury against Nuclear war and nuclear power and nuclear energy along the marran grassed cliffs of windy Carnsore point.
And so many people arrived that it was felt that Ireland would begin to upend into the sea. But the people weren’t afraid of that. They knew the gods of wind and sea and land were on their side and eventually with the help of that wind, their voices reached Dublin and the government (who seemed a bit hard of hearing for it took three years) finally got the message.
The idea was dropped like a lead balloon.
As I cycle my new bicycle in search of my wind bathing spot I remind myself how this area with its tapestry of hedge-rowed boiríns could have told a different story.
Now sometimes what you are good at can be your demise.
And because Carnsore is a windy place, I am going to have to share its space.with….
You may love them or hate them or maybe have no thoughts about them but they are here in this place of wind.
Having been one of those who joined in the demonstrations and sang as loud as she could, I’m just grateful that it is one these I lean my bicycle against.
The alternative would be unthinkable (or even impossible)
But I have two tricky obstacles before I can get to my bathing place and just as the yellow bicycle never gave up so the blue bike must learn my ways and we manage by sheer determination and strength, sustaining an electric shock (me) and scratches to paintwork (my new bicycle).
But at last we plunge through the knee high flowers towards the spot where I camped all those years ago.
And at last I am standing on a ledge looking out to sea, feeling the wind fritter my hair.
A young couple appear around the headland and stand near me also looking out to sea.
I feel shy and decide to wait till they have gone before I start my ablutions.
In the water just off some rocks, a seal pops up its head and looks in our direction.
Seeing it, the couple turn to me smiling, their voices are pulled away by the wind but I know what they are saying.
‘Look! a seal’
I nod and smile and think how this is the basis of human nature.
To acknowledge a stranger and share an experience with her.
‘What a beautiful wild place, wasn’t it grand to see the seal’
They are passing me now but stop to make their remark.
I, in turn, ask them if they had heard of the planned power site and the rallies and demonstrations all those years ago.
They shake their heads in disbelief
‘Here? you are joking!’
‘forty one years ago. fair play’
The boy shakes his head in disbelief once more before they walk on, following the Wexford coastal path in the direction of Kilmore Quay, through the meadows of flowers on one side and the swaying Marran grass-growing-cliffs on the other.
when at last they are out of sight, I stand and, facing the wind coming in from the ocean, lift my arms in readiness.
How to wind bathe
- Find your spot.
(Beside the sea, by a lake, beside a river, on a hill top. It doesn’t matter as long as there is a breeze.)
- Stand with arms aloft.
- Face into the wind.
- Let it wash over you.
Next week I will be wind bathing here.