Blaming the Wind

“My country lay within a vast desert. When the sun rose into the sky, a burning wind punished my lands, searing the world. And when the moon climbed into the dark of night, a frigid gale pierced our homes. No matter when it came, the wind carried the same thing… Death. But the winds that blew across the green fields of Hyrule brought something other than suffering and ruin. I coveted that wind, I suppose.”

Ganondorf’s speech, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Have you ever tried to write an essay in summer, when your friends have all gone to the beach and the humidity is fiercely high? Let me tell you: it’s brutal. I have nobody to blame but myself for the panic, having left it this late to really knuckle down and get working on this essay, but the Levante is an obstacle I confess I had not counted on. It tires you out and yet at the same time it holds you back from sleep. On a regular day when the skies are clear it might just make you a little woozy, but when the clouds push the current down to earth it acts like a greenhouse. The very wind saps you of your energy and leaves you hot, sticky and lethargic.

Not the best environment to tackle a 5,000 word research project in a foreign language.

The Levante reminded from the very first of Ganondorf’s final speech from Nintendo’s Zelda: The Wind Waker. Until then he’d been a fairly standard videogame boss with awesome power and not much personality. I don’t know whether it was an act of mercy on the designer’s part or a simple desire for a more human villain, but he was a new man in WW, and that last speech always stands out in my head. Maybe after a thousand years of imprisonment in the Sacred Realm he’d had time to mull the whole world-domination thing over. So Zelda supports cognitive behavioral therapy. Who knew?

Alright, so the Levante doesn’t exactly bring death. But lying here in the heat and the stickiness and the fatigue of the night, it certainly isn’t the kind of wind I associate with green fields.

Fortunately, at least as far as the essay is concerned, I planned well: more than 365 days later, the topic – bandit mythology in Spain – is as exciting as it sounded when I first came up with the idea on a whim last year, when my mind was likely otherwise occupied by British Council anticipation and the next Northern Lights gig. So, whilst the others at Dar Loughat spent a jolly old time at Ceuta, or Ain Zarqa, or watching Grease, I managed to bust out a decent thousand words or so; decent being a liberal term, dependent entirely on whether you can stomach my shamelessly flowery essay-writing style. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been run down to my last megabyte of data – quite literally – I might consider going for another thousand this weekend too… But that’s not what the year abroad is for. Besides, I need more data or I’m going off the grid. I think I’ll check out the Three Armies after class.

At some point over the next few weeks I’ll get around to braving new territory and filming a grand sum-up of the year – mainly because I have to, it being part of my contract with the Durham blog. Not so good for this particularly camera-shy blogger, but you never learn if you never try, and it might be a fun little break from routine, anyway. You might even call it a swan song, in light of recent events.

It’s just gone four minutes past midnight, post-Ramadan time. I’ve got the Corrs’ latest album playing as I write – specifically, Gerry’s Reel. This evening, between sweating like a pig and drinking like a fish, I’ve got a decent amount of novelling done, too. Never forget, BB, that that is the crux. University, the year abroad, Arabic… It’s all a passing phase. The book is eternal and if you don’t work on it, nobody else will. It’s really blossomed this year like never before and I’m quite excited to have the time to work on it without any guilt in September, before dissertation season and the travails of Finals year set in.

Speaking of which, we should be finding out our dissertation choices this week. Scary, much. Especially so when it’s a 12,000 word commitment. Fingers crossed, eh? BB x

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