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The Dream of the Wind

Arantza de Areilza [1]

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A few days ago I reestablished contact with a great German friend with whom I studied in Strasbourg [3], the capital of Alsace [4], in France.  It had been years since we had spoken, and naturally, our conversation focused on reminiscing about that wonderful year at the edge of the Rhine. 

We recalled anecdotes, favorite places, people and conversations, to end by praising the architectural beauty of Strasbourg.  We remembered how we met in the cathedral, in the cold winter evenings, below the crowned astronomical clock with an intriguing phrase which prayed, “The apparent time.”  We remembered how the frosted and damp wind, which came from the Ill river which bordered the old city, blew, and how that afternoon an old Alsatian man, sitting on our side of the bench of the Cathedral, waiting for the organ concert to begin, asked us in the Allemnisch dialect saying, “Do you know why the wind never stops blowing in the around the Cathedral?”   We were rather surprised, before we could respond, he continued, “In remote times, the Devil flew over the earth riding the wind.  One day he saw his portrait sculpted in the portico appearing as the Tempter, courting the mad Virgins.  Curious and adulated, he entered the cathedral in search of other sculptures that portrayed him.  Inside, he was made a prisoner, and, could never leave.  Today, the Wind, his faithful mount, is still waiting in the plaza, impatiently and furiously neighing supported by the echoes of the alleys. 

Amused by the legend, I remember how that night I returned walking to my little mansard, between organ chords, thinking that the mist which enveloped the beautiful Strasbourg should be the dream of the wind.