Words of Wisdom: Windy


Wind is just air on the way to someplace else. It is little regarded unless it’s doing some damage on the way.

But since ancient times wind was simply thought of as one of the four main elements—earth, water, wind, and fire—that make up everything we know. Fortunately, we’ve found a way to bottle each one of them, though we’ve never quite tamed any of them.

Take the wind, for example. It can blow a sail boat across the lake or it can blow down your barn. It can cool you on a summer day, turn a windmill, or rearrange your hairdo when you least want it to.

It boils down to a simple equation. “To most human beings, wind is an irritation. To most trees, wind is a song,” says South African philosopher and social critic, Mokokoma Mokhonoana. It is even poetry in a song of gratitude when you remember “the wind beneath your wings.”

But have we put wind in a bottle or tamed it? I’ll say yes and nominate wind-power to light our homes and the wind that we make on purpose to take airplanes into the sky.

Airplanes and airports can be things of inspiration. Consider the words of Alan Shepard, the first American to travel into space, and in 1971, one of the first to walk on the Moon. “In my early teens,” he said, “I used to ride my bike every Saturday morning to the nearest airport, ten miles away, push airplanes in and out of the hangars, and clean up the hangars.” Look where the wind under his wings took him.

That’s why this week your Jamestown Gazette’s cover story contributor, Matt Hummel, invites you to revisit the business of reopening our airport to commercial airlines. Flight has opened the skies and shrunk the world in ways the ancients who contemplated the wind could never have imagined. Such wind also makes it possible to set out in the morning for a faraway part of the country and get back home in time for supper.

The wind in flight does one more thing few of us appreciate as much as we could. Even a seasoned aviator like Amelia Erhard recognized it. “I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty.”

So, it’s a beautiful thing that our local and county governments are doing to bring passenger service back to town. Let’s support them with some wind of our own in their sails.

Matt also brings us a story this week about another hardworking civil servant, Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson, the county’s top prosecutor, living proof of the dedication it takes to keep a county of nearly 140,000 citizens safe.

But, it’s not all work and no play in Chautauqua County this week. Don’t forget about Valentine’s day. Check out our Word Scramble contest this week. Unscramble the valentines and take home another big prize. A few times every year, the Gazette’s fine advertisers help us put together a huge prize package worth celebrating!

So, hoping everything is blowing your way this week, Happy Valentines Day from the Jamestown Gazette.

And remember, there’s no ill wind you can’t overcome. Henry Ford said, “When things seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

Once again, for a breath of fresh air, hold onto your Jamestown Gazette and enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut