27th Jun 2019

The Wind Is An Invisible Wolf

The rain is Tess, the fire's Joe / And they call the wind Maria / Maria blows the stars around, sets the clouds a-flyin' / Maria makes the mountains sound like folks was out there dyin'...

and I’ll huff...

Whilst watching Frances Marion’s homonymous 1928 adaptation of Dorothy Scarborough’s 1925 novel The Wind directed by Victor Sjöström starring Lillian Gish it was impossible not to think about the titular wind as an invisible wolf. The four winds as a pack of wolves. The big bad windy wolf drawn and quartered. Have you ever heard a howlin’ wolf? Moanin’ in the moonlight? Moanin’ at midnight? What if Peter hadn’t heard the wolf? What then?

and I’ll puff...

It was also impossible not to think of the possible and probable influence or inspiration upon anyone who’s bothered watching perhaps the first Horror Western or Western Horror, however you might prefer to frame it. It seems obvious if not overt in stories like Ray Bradbury’s The Wind collected in The October Country published in 1955 and films like The Walking Hills and the homonymous 1964 adaptation of Kōbō Abe’s 1962 novel 砂の女 (Suna no Onna / Woman In The Dunes) starring Eiji Okada and Kyōko Kishida. But why should I draw any lines in the sand and declare something as apparently disparate as Winnie The Pooh And The Blustery Day as an orphan whose lineage can’t possibly trace back to 1925 to say nothing of any and all other odes to the wind since humans gave a name to it. The cradle will rock. Who knows where this wind of Dorothy Scarborough has blown and what seeds it might have scattered. The answer my friend is blowin’ in The Wind...

He that troubles his own house shall inherit the wind. • Proverbs 11:9

For the night-wind has a dismal trick of wandering round and round a building of that sort, and moaning as it goes; and of trying, with its unseen hand, the windows and the doors; and seeking out some crevices by which to enter. And when it has got in; as one not finding what it seeks, whatever that may be, it wails and howls to issue forth again: and not content with stalking through the aisles, and gliding round and round the pillars, and tempting the deep organ, soars up to the roof, and strives to rend the rafters: then flings itself despairingly upon the stones below, and passes, muttering, into the vaults. Anon, it comes up stealthily, and creeps along the walls, seeming to read, in whispers, the Inscriptions sacred to the Dead. At some of these, it breaks out shrilly, as with laughter; and at others, moans and cries as if it were lamenting. It has a ghostly sound too, lingering within the altar; where it seems to chaunt, in its wild way, of Wrong and Murder done, and false Gods worshipped, in defiance of the Tables of the Law, which look so fair and smooth, but are so flawed and broken. Ugh! Heaven preserve us, sitting snugly round the fire! It has an awful voice, that wind at Midnight, singing in a church! — from The Chimes by Charles Dickens

and I’ll blow your house down...

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