Winds: Fremantle Doctor, Roaring Forties, Williwaw, Pampera, Trade Winds, Chinook, Sirrocco, West Wind Family, Mistral.
Animals: Feathertail Glider
Birds: Albatross, Arctic Tern, Frigate Bird, Canada Goose.
People: Amelia Earhart, Buccaneers, Shanty Singers, Park Ranger
– Fremantle Doctor: Western Australia – Swan River – Kings Park
– Roaring Forties: Southern Ocean – Antarctica – Cape Horn
– Williwaw: Eastern South America
– Pampera: Horse Latitudes
– Trade Winds: Pacific Ocean, Doldrums
– Chinook: The Rockies
– Sirrocco: North Africa
– West Wind: Europe
– Mistral: Sicily,Tower of the Winds
Amelia and The Winds of The World
Amelia was small and soft. Amelia was furry and frightened. She hid in the gum leaves. Her mother would say, “But Amelia my dear heart, there is no need to be frightened.
You were made to glide through the air like me. Look.”
Amelia’s mother, Mrs Feathertail Glider, would swoop from one tree to another using her skin flaps to float on the breeze and her feather tail to steer.
“Please do try dear heart” she begged.
But Amelia would not try. “If I belonged to the Koala family”, Amelia sighed into the gum leaves.
“I wouldn’t have to fly.”
One day when the trees in the wildlife park were bending and swaying so much that they tore a hole in the netting enclosure Amelia’s mother said.
“Well thank goodness. Here’s the Fremantle Doctor. He will help Amelia.”
Sure enough a tall, cool looking Doctor bounced through the hole and into the park. When Amelia’s mother explained the problem he picked Amelia up and flew off with her.
The Swan River was full of all kinds of sailing craft jibing and tacking.
“Look Amelia” said the Doctor.
“See how the sail boats use my wind to travel through the water.”
But Amelia would not look. The sky above King’s Park was full of kites looping and lacing.
“Look”, said the Doctor.
“See how the kites use my wind to make patterns in the sky.”
But Amelia would not look. Balloonists were having a race across the Nullarbor Plain. Coloured bubbles, patterned and dazzling, were strung like a giant’s necklace as far as the eye could see.
“Look”, said the Doctor, “See how the balloons float through the air using my wind.”
But Amelia would not look.
Then the Doctor popped Amelia into his bag and off he flew.
He flew South across the water.
The air grew so cold that Amelia felt her feather tail freeze like a stick.
Then suddenly she was falling,
She had landed in the softest, plushest place there could possibly be.
A large head turned. A large eye looked at her. Then a gentle voice said.
“Oh. Another one for lessons. Come on then.”
“Where are we going?” asked Amelia.
“To meet some friends of mine.” said the Albatross as she stretched a pair of the widest wings in the world.
“After that I’m not sure. Although I am sure that my friends will help you fly.”
The Albatross noticed that Amelia was reluctant.
“You do want to fly don’t you? I mean you will have to ….. if you want to get back home.”
Amelia did understand that. She nodded although her eyes were dark with fear.
“There’s no need to be scared if you are properly prepared”, said the Albatross with certainty. “That’s my job. To prepare you.”
Off they went. Skimming the waves. Gliding on the up drafts. Using windshear and dynamic soaring to travel with speed across the wide Southern Ocean.
“Now”, said the Albatross, when you meet my friends do not be alarmed. They are good fun even though they may seem rough and ready.
No sooner had she finished speaking than across the sky came the Roaring Forties, a group of blustering Buccaneers bellowing rude songs with words like ‘Gor blimey’ and ‘piddle’ and ‘pheni-pharticular’.
They picked Amelia up and carried her off over the tumbling waves of the leaping sea singing all the way to Cape Horn. It was raucously loud but it was fun.
“Amelia”, called their leader, Roaring Forty One, “We go straight on from here.”
“I’ll pass you on to the Williwaw. He’s a local he’ll show you round.”
A shabby clown with mischievous eyes and jerky movements came from behind a cumulus cloud, tucked Amelia into his button hole and off they zigzagged up the length of Argentina.
All the while the Williwaw told knock knock jokes and played tricks on the earth bound creatures.
“Knock knock”, shouted the Williwaw.
“Who’s there”, squeaked Amelia.
“Willywaw his best clothes to bed”, shrieked the Williwaw.
“Knock knock”, called Amelia
“Who’s there?”, cried the Williwaw
“Wooden shoe who?”
“Wooden shoe like to know”, Amelia gasped.
They were both wild with joy.
Before long the Williwaw ran out of jokes and tricks and pointed a finger.
“Behind that rainbow we’ll find Pampero. She will take you further than I can.”
At that, moment a dappled horse with streaming mane and tail called to Amelia,
“Jump on my back”. The Williwaw could see Amelia was still too scared to try on her own so he took her from his button hole and put her on Pamero’s saddle. They were flying over the rainbow before you could say puff.
Pampero pranced on, galloping and gliding by turn until she said.
“I’ve run out of breath I’ll have to stop.”
“But what will happen to me”, cried Amelia.
“Don’t let go of me. I can’t fly”.
“I have to leave you”, Pampero insisted
“Further north are the Horse Latitudes. Long ago they used to throw horses into the water there. It is not a comfortable place for me to be.”
An Arctic Tern flying north on business called to Amelia.
“If you don’t mind a lack of space jump on my Brief Case. I’ll be catching the South East Trade Winds soon.”
It was clear that the Arctic Tern was a methodical creature, quite used to international flight. Amelia tried to question him about flying techniques. It proved useless. He had to steer, flap and keep in touch with world events at the same time, so Amelia just watched. Soon she heard a faint singing and before long a group of sailors, pulling on ropes and singing shanties, came in sight. They paused briefly in their work and welcomed the Arctic Tern who relaxed slightly in their care and handed Amelia over to them. Perched in the hat of one of those Jolly Tars, Amelia watched the coast of the Americas fade to the East as she listened to the sailors’ songs that told of ‘Love Left Behind’, of ‘Life At Sea’, and of the ‘Glories of Rum’. They were well over the Pacific Ocean when the sailors almost stopped.
“We’ll have to leave you”, they said.
“We are all tuckered out. We have caught a bad case of the Doldrums.”
“The Doldrums” said Amelia. “What is that?”
“No wind.” the sailors declared.
“We’ll put you down on that island. You will have to wait for the next wind … or next bird.”
Amelia could not help but feel that the idea of Rum had something to do with the Doldrums however she said nothing. The sailors of the South East Trade Winds set Amelia down on an Island. Amelia watched them curl up in a corner of the sky and go promptly to sleep, but not before she was sure she caught a glint of brown glass bottle flashing in the sunset. Amelia waited and waited. No wind. No birds. Days passed and Amelia was just starting to feel panic in her small heart when she saw a huge bird land awkwardly on the Island. The bird said in a cheerful way
“Good heavens,what are you doing here?”
“Please can you take me back to Australia?” Amelia begged.
“Good heavens no”, said the Frigate Bird. “Not on my route.”
However I am taking a few messages further up the coast so jump on. The Frigate Bird made several calls and happy conversation at all places they stopped. At last he said “Good heavens, I’m late for a date with a very good friend of mine.”
Sure enough they were soon joined by another Frigate Bird. The Frigate Birds seemed to only have eyes for each other. Amelia could tell they were more than just good friends. She was starting to feel like an intruder when she saw a figure beckoning to her from a Cloud Arch. A native American with a spectacular headdress was signalling
“Jump off. I’ll catch you.”
Amelia hesitated then she jumped. She spread her flaps and tried to glide but she kept spiralling down.
Chinook leapt forward and bore her up again.
“Silly one”, he said. “Use your tail. Don’t you know that Father Sky gave you that tail to steer with.” It was warm and wonderful in Chinook’s arms. She felt she could stay forever. This was not to be.
“Come on”, he said. “We’ll be late”.
“What for?”, asked Amelia.
“Springtime of course”, said the Chinook.
“I have to go and melt the snow on the Rocky Mountains.”
As they flew Amelia watched the white snow turn to sparkling silver that trickled and tumbled, rolled and rumbled, from stream to river to Giant Dam. She watched people leave their houses and rejoice in the warmth that Chinook carried across Canada.
It was almost dark when the huge orange moon was speared by a flight of honking geese. “Just the thing”, Chinook said and flew alongside.
“Hello leader”, he called “I have a passenger for you”.
“A passenger. Give her to the old one back there”, the leader replied.
Amelia found herself on the back of a large lumbering goose as Chinook waved farewell.
“Thank you”, Amelia breathed. “What will I call you?”
“Oh Mother will do”, said the Old Goose. “Hang on”. Curious young geese flew alongside and sniffed in distain.
“Can’t you fly?”, they taunted.
“How ridiculous”, jeered one.
“Scared to have a go?”, sneered another.
“Call those flaps of skin wings?”, scoffed the youngest.
“No wonder you can’t get off the ground. You are a silly goose.”
Amelia felt ashamed and hurt by the remarks of the young geese. She longed to escape their mocking eyes. All through the flying days that followed, Mother Goose told her rhymes but Amelia became more and more homesick, because the rhymes reminded her of the stories Ulloobaru, the Park Ranger, had told in the wildlife park. She felt hot tears behind her eyes. Mother Goose felt the tears too as they fell
onto her grey back. She stopped saying rhymes and said in a kindly voice.
“In a short time I’ll leave you with the Westerlies. They are a warm family. I’m sure they’ll look after you. Learn from them and you will soon fly.”
Amelia heard soft singing and felt a warming around her and sure enough a family of winds bore her all the way to Europe.
Winds that carried spring flowers in their hair.
Winds that carried bird songs on their lips and harps in their hands.
Winds that carried memories of love and laughter and all manner of wonderful
Alas wonderful beginnings do not always mean wonderful endings. They were over France when they met the Mistral, a magician who could turn even the most pleasant family into an unhappy one by using confusion and mistrust. The air turned cold with quarrelling. While the Westerlies were distracted by their squabbles the Mistral swept Amelia away.
The Westerlies called “Come back. We are not cross with you.”
It was too late.
The Mistral laughed loud and long when Amelia told him she could not fly.
“Not fly? And yet you have managed to get from Australia to here. What nonsense. I don’t believe you. LIAR.”
He took Amelia and threw her with all his strength into the air over Africa. She tumbled and turned and twisted. She spun and spiralled. As she careened across the clouds in a great turbulence she plunged and
pitched but she did not fall.
Was she flying?
If so it was easier than she thought it would be. No. She soon realised she was caught in the steps of a dance. She was being whirled around by a dancer who moved so furiously fast that it felt like
“Stop”, Amelia cried. “Stop, you are taking me back the way I came.”
“Did you say stop?”, shouted the dancer.
“Why should I? I am Sirocco. I dance and dance till I want to stop, not when pip squeak like you calls on me to stop.”
The whirling and swirling, went on and on until at last Sirocco was exhausted and quite sweaty.
“Here’s the place for you”, she cried and dropped Amelia.
Down Amelia plunged, straight down. Quickly she stretched her skin flaps, and helped by a gentle breeze landed safely on a stone tower built in Sicily. The tower was old and on it’s crumbling walls was carved a name
The Tower of the winds
Amelia looked at each wall in turn. She saw messages that poets through the ages had written about the Winds of the World.
– ‘When the wind blows the quiet things speak.’ – Lilian Moore
– ‘Hear a voice in every wind’ – Thomas Gray
– ‘All I ask is a windy day with a white cloud flying.’ – Masefield
– ‘And a good south wind sprung up behind and the Albatross did follow’ – Coleridge.
– ‘Blow, blow thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind as man’s ingratitude’ – Shakespeare
– ‘It’s an illwind that blows nobody any good’ – Traditional
– ‘Sweet and low, breathe and blow, wind of the Western Sea.’ – Tennyson
She knew that she could use those winds to help her be what she was meant to be …… if only she would dare.
Amelia climbed out on the ledge of the tower.
Amelia remembered these things.
The calm and crafty way the Albatross used updraughts.
The concentration of the Arctic Tern.
The cheerfulness of the Frigate Bird.
The tireless pumping action of the geese in flight.
She recalled the ways of the winds that had carried her half way around the world.
The Fremantle Doctor and his easy breezy manner.
The rollicking Roaring Forties.
Williwaw and his cheeky tricks
Pampero’s galloping graciousness.
The singing sailors of the Trade Winds.
Chinook’s strong arms.
The warm Westerlies.
Mistral’s brooding magic.
The sudden energy of Sirocco.
She saw them and wore them all in her mind.
Amelia took a deep breath.
Before long she saw a balloon race strung across the Nullarbor Plain. She joined in.
She saw kites above King’s Park.
She swooped among them.
She saw boats on the Swan River.
She glided between them.
She saw the Wildlife Park and just as she was about to enter the enclosure
she heard a breezy voice.
“Well Amelia. What do we call you now?”, laughed the Fremantle Doctor.
“Amelia Dareheart of course”, said her Mother as she hugged her.