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Wednesday September 22 was the autumn equinox, which marks the moment the Northern Hemisphere no longer leans towards the sun.

Air temperatures at the pole begin to drop. The resulting difference of temperature between pole and equator creates movement in the air – creates wind.

With the wind, comes change. Leaves that were quiet under the summer calls of birds and insects have now found their voice.

Birch whisper, alder and hazel flitter, and oaks swish. From a sheltered spot you can sometimes hear a gust on its way, the treetops susurrating in a westerly wave.

It won’t be long before those leaves start to turn and fall. The trees know these winds are the first of many. If they drop their thousands of tiny sails, they have a better chance of bending through the coming weather.

Ravens and buzzards, however, seem to revel in the wind. Unlike crows, ravens will play in a turbulent sky, groups of them swinging and sliding on the air in what looks an awful lot like joy.

Buzzards sail easily through the ravens’ antics, sure on their course. One lands often by our house, on the northmost branch of an empty gean tree. Face and feathers into the wind, its wings blow out behind like a superhero’s cape. It seems comfortable with the power of the wind.

On still days, buzzards will hunt from posts and treetops, but in autumn and winter they can also be seen hovering up high, wings wide open to the airflow, a steady stream of tiny adjustments shaping bird to sky.

Through all this movement, the head can be completely still, hooked on an invisible line of sight to prey far below.

For the humans in the landscape, wind has long brought problems.

Historian James Hunter has written about a particularly fierce gale that came on October 1, 1881, destroying crops and fishing boats and leaving Highlanders facing a particularly bad winter of famine.

In the present day, people whose livelihoods depend on the weather still face tense nights, waiting to see what damage a night-time gale has wrought.

Yet wind also keeps us going. It can be what keeps us cosy in the midst of a storm: wind turbines can provide heat and light all through the winter, such as those at Beinneun Wind Farm.

Visible from the A82 at Bridge of Oich, its giant, bird-like turbines perch elegantly on the hills, facing into the wind.

We sit somewhere between the trees and the buzzard: battening down the hatches where we have to, letting the wind support us where we can.

www.kirsteenbellblog.wordpress.com – @KirsteenBell