The first winds of spring (short story)

Waking​ ​to​ ​news​ ​of​ ​some​ ​far​ ​off​ ​conflict​ ​I​ ​open​ ​the​ ​weather​ ​app​ ​on​ ​my​ ​iPhone.​ ​Sunday,​ ​February​ ​27th,​ ​sunny​ ​from​ ​now​ ​until​ ​18:00.​ ​A​ ​high​ ​of​ ​17​ ​degrees​ ​Celsius.​ ​I’m​ ​told​ ​the​ ​best​ ​time​ ​to​ ​catch​ ​a​ ​view​ ​of​ ​Fuji​ ​san​ ​are​ ​on​ ​days​ ​like​ ​these.​ ​Although​ ​in​ ​my​ ​experience​ ​Fuji​ ​san​ ​only​ ​makes​ ​itself​ ​seen​ ​when​ ​you’re​ ​not​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​it.​ ​I’ll​ ​take​ ​my​ ​chances,​ ​I​ ​thought.
Unfolding​ ​my​ ​bike,​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​the​ ​wind​ ​breathing​ ​in​ ​my​ ​ears,​ ​on​ ​my​ ​face​ ​and​ ​hands.

I​ ​set​ ​off​ ​while​ ​thinking​ ​about​ ​the​ ​times​ ​Fuji​ ​san​ ​has​ ​appeared​ ​to​ ​me​ ​while​ ​running​ ​along​ ​the​ ​Arakawa​ ​river​ ​in​ ​Eastern​ ​Tokyo.​ ​I​ ​point​ ​my​ ​bike​ ​in​ ​it’s​ ​direction​ ​and​ ​start​ ​pedaling.​ ​I​ ​know​ ​where​ ​I​ ​am​ ​going.​ ​The​ ​bike​ ​and​ ​I​ ​are​ ​one.​ ​If​ ​the​ ​bike​ ​goes​ ​fast,​ ​I​ ​go​ ​fast.​ ​Or​ ​is​ ​it​ ​just​ ​the​ ​wind​ ​at​ ​my​ ​back?

Before​ ​arriving​ ​at​ ​Little​ ​Yotsugi​ ​Bridge,​ ​my​ ​gateway​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Arakawa,​ ​I​ ​pass​ ​the​ ​hectic​ ​train​ ​station.​ ​There​ ​isn’t​ ​a​ ​bike​ ​left​ ​standing​ ​where​ ​their​ ​owners​ ​parked​ ​before​ ​rushing​ ​off​ ​to​ ​their​ ​next​ ​appointment.​ ​Next​ ​meeting.​ ​Next​ ​everything.​ ​Instead,​ ​just​ ​a​ ​neat​ ​row​ ​of​ ​horizontal​ ​mamachari.

I​ ​continue​ ​pedaling.​ ​This​ ​powerful​ ​wind​ ​is​ ​known​ ​as​ ​Haru​ ​Ichiban;​ ​the​ ​first​ ​winds​ ​of​ ​Spring.​ ​I​ ​pedal​ ​past​ ​elderly​ ​women​ ​waiting​ ​at​ ​the​ ​bus​ ​stop.​ ​‘’Kazei​ ​wa​ ​tsuyoi​ ​desuyonei~~’’​ ​The​ ​sound​ ​of​ ​their​ ​voice​ ​is​ ​blown​ ​away​ ​along​ ​with​ ​plastic​ ​liter​ ​that​ ​escaped​ ​from​ ​brightly​ ​colored​ ​recycling​ ​bins.

I​ ​arrive​ ​where​ ​I’ve​ ​seen​ ​Fuji​ ​san​ ​before.​ ​More​ ​immense,​ ​solid​ ​and​ ​heavy​ ​than​ ​you​ ​had​ ​ever​ ​expected.​ ​But​ ​today,​ ​as​ ​if​ ​veiled​ ​by​ ​a​ ​magicians​ ​illusion,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​vanished.​ ​In​ ​its​ ​place​ ​on​ ​the​ ​horizon​ ​are​ ​light,​ ​airy,​ ​vaporous​ ​clouds.

After​ ​some​ ​time,​ ​I​ ​turn​ ​around​ ​and​ ​pedal​ ​back,​ ​towards​ ​home.​ ​This​ ​time,​ ​pedaling​ ​against​ ​the​ ​wind​ ​along​ ​the​ ​banks​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Arakawa.​ ​It’s​ ​usual​ ​lazy​ ​flow​ ​has​ ​been​ ​transformed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​wind​ ​which​ ​is​ ​growing​ ​more​ ​intense​ ​with​ ​each​ ​rise​ ​and​ ​fall​ ​of​ ​my​ ​feet.

Stopping​ ​to​ ​rest​ ​my​ ​tired​ ​legs,​ ​I​ ​notice​ ​a​ ​pair​ ​of​ ​Ooban​ ​swimming​ ​in​ ​opposition​ ​to​ ​the​ ​now​ ​frantic,​ ​ever​ ​changing​ ​river.​ ​Every​ ​drop​ ​of​ ​water​ ​being​ ​pushed​ ​by​ ​spring​ ​winds​ ​southwards​ ​towards​ ​Tokyo​ ​Bay.​ ​The​ ​bird’s​ ​greyish-black​ ​feathers​ ​and​ ​pure​ ​white​ ​foreheads​ ​and​ ​beaks​ ​bobbing​ ​up​ ​and​ ​down​ ​as​ ​they​ ​struggle​ ​to​ ​swim​ ​north​ ​towards​ ​Akabane.​ ​What​ ​were​ ​they​ ​pedaling​ ​towards?

In​ ​an​ ​instant,​ ​a​ ​triumphant​ ​‘cuy’​ ​rang​ ​out​ ​and​ ​their​ ​wings​ ​were​ ​spread.​ ​The​ ​biggest​ ​of​ ​the​ ​two​ ​was​ ​lifted​ ​first,​ ​followed​ ​immediately​ ​by​ ​the​ ​other​ ​into​ ​the​ ​air.​ ​Higher​ ​an​ ​higher​ ​they​ ​soared​ ​to​ ​the​ ​place​ ​where​ ​wings​ ​are​ ​made​ ​for.​ ​Having​ ​re-remembered​ ​this​ ​natural​ ​state​ ​they​ ​smiled​ ​gently.​ ​Now,​ ​flying​ ​so​ ​closely​ ​to​ ​each​ ​other​ ​that​ ​the​ ​pair​ ​appeared​ ​as​ ​one,​ ​great​ ​colorless​ ​form.​ ​It​ ​dissolved​ ​into​ ​the​ ​sky.

The​ ​legs,​ ​having​ ​finally​ ​recovered,​ ​began​ ​pedaling​ ​home​ ​once​ ​more.​ ​Before​ ​crossing​ ​the​ ​Little​ ​Yotsugi​ ​Bridge,​ ​a​ ​sudden​ ​gust​ ​of​ ​cool,​ ​fresh​ ​Spring​ ​wind​ ​lifted​ ​the​ ​cap​ ​off​ ​my​ ​head.​ ​Turning​ ​around,​ ​the​ ​hat​ ​falling​ ​gracefully​ ​into​ ​the​ ​the​ ​water​ ​under​ ​me,​ ​my​ ​eyes​ ​falling​ ​up,​ ​seeing​ ​Fuji​ ​planted​ ​solidly,​ ​majestically​ ​where​ ​it​ ​had​ ​always​ ​been.​ ​Towering​ ​over​ ​the​ ​sky​ ​scraping​ ​buildings​ ​of​ ​Tokyo.​ ​It’s​ ​summit​ ​still​ ​covered​ ​in​ ​picturesque​ ​white​ ​snow.

Dustin

Blue Hippo

By Blue Hippo

An old friend, mostly off-line; preferring her privacy.

2 comments

  1. “…seeing​ ​Fuji​ ​planted​ ​solidly,​ ​majestically​ ​where​ ​it​ ​had​ ​always​ ​been.​”
    This “story”, brings NOW / ‘I’ into immediate focus, and as such, it is not a story at all.
    Thank you, Dustin!

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