The Wind In The Willows by Iris Einstein

A.K.A. My First Theory

So, here I am, paying the penance that Crimmy’s imposed on me for using her crimsonprose to air my usually-but-not-always history-focused theories.

Cos, you see, she thought all my theories were like the one that earned me the ‘Einstein’ tag. Between you and me, I think she’s jarred that I’m as good at history as she – just I don’t bother to clutter it with her blasted citations. Not that my theories aren’t supported by facts. It’s just I don’t remember whence I found them. I’ve a theory, see, that there’s a sphere of facts encircling the world, a ‘nous-sphere’ if I might nick whojemecallit’s turn of phrase, that Jesuit fella. (Though I guess that ought to be ‘g-no’, not ‘nous’, as in ‘gnosis’ and, you know, knowing.) Anyway, I’ve a theory these facts are just wafting around, waiting for us to pluck them and use them. But that’s not today’s theory.

Iris Einstein’s Theory No. 1 – The Tree As Wind Raiser

So, picture this. It happened one day when we Jacks were 5th formers (I don’t know what that translates to across the Atlantic, but it’s the year we took all the exams, the results of which were supposed to steer us in our choice of ‘A’ levels, the required criteria for entrance to Uni. And of course, we all wanted to go to Oxford or Cambridge, which meant we had to have a Classical Language, and hence we Jacks were all Latin-grubbers – some, i.e. Crimmie, more grubby that others.)

We had just worked through triple Physics. Can you imagine what that had done to our heads, we 15/16 years old girls! And, to cut it short, we had completed whatever the experiment (too long ago now, I don’t remember), had recorded the results, had shown that whatever the theory was indeed correct – like we school kids were going to disprove some Nobel Prize winner, huh? And there were 10 minutes yet before the period ended and we’d be released to race off to our Houses (or in our case, the Hall) in time to line-up for dinner (yea, dinner, not lunch, cos we were supposed to be posh; ‘No, don’t spray that pea soup into Gloria’s face, it’s not that laughable.’) It would have been nice of Schwanny River, our prof. of the battery-labs, to have let us out early so we didn’t have to race it.

I’d best explain that. Our school wasn’t built all neat and compact in one building, like a modern school is. Instead, it consisted of ‘blocks’ of buildings of various previous purposes and usage scattered like satellites around the main and grand Hall which served, apart from Reception and Admin, as dorms for we 5th and the Lower and Upper 6th girls. Lesser urchins had Houses scattered like satellites (but I think they wanted to keep a closer eye on us sexually-aware girls!) The Games Block and playing fields were way off beyond a belt of trees – where, also, was sited our very own sewerage farm. Oh joy in hot weather! But the Science Block was the farthest away from the main cluster – which was as well for the year after we Jacks departed our beloved school, the Science Block exploded. A bomb had been planted. Everyone said it was Meldred’s doing – a 3rd form girl who’d have made a St Trinian girl seem angelic. But apparently not. It was some until-then anonymous mouse who wanted revenge for what she claimed were her unfair Chemistry grades. There was no loss of life, the blast occurring deep in the night.

So, we’d finished early, and we all were looking expectantly at the door, books and belongings all neatly gathered, everyone ready for the off, when Schwanny River launched into this mini-rap about ‘Scientific Process’ and the role of measurement and experiment. I don’t suppose anyone was listening, preferring to fray another inch off their ties, or fill in every a, b, d, e, g, o, p and q, on the face of their text books, or pass notes about who fancies whom, etc. Myself, I was thinking about dinner – word was that we were having boiled beef and carrots with doughty dour swimmers (somewhat dense and heavy suet dumplings). But I do remember his repeated use of the word ‘empirical’ for Empirical, so our school-issue dictionary told me, was: “adj. derived from or relating to experiment and observation rather than theory.” Which is what we’d been doing – to prove a theory. (You might guess, I didn’t excel at any of the sciences. In fact, I’m not sure what I did excel at.)

Anyway, finally the bell sounded. There was a clatter of chairs, a loud chatter of girls, and we all spilled out. Twenty career bitches in the making, all trying to be first through the door – and outside the wind blew.

Myself, I looked at the trees, saw how their branches were waving, felt the wind blowing and voiced my first (remembered) theory – based on observation, you understand, on visual measurement.

“Cause and effort,” I prefaced. “See how the trees wave their branches.” I waved my arms for added emphasis. “And note how the wind blows. This proves my theory that trees are the agent that raises the wind.”

Of course, clever clogs Crimmy had to find fault. “And if in a desert, devoid of trees . . . how then the wind?”

I tutted and waved her away. I said, “If the faster flutter of a butterfly’s wings in Hong Kong can cause a storm in the Western Atlantic, why not the enticement of trees in Europe raising a wind in the Gobi desert? Answer me that, huh.” That quietened her.

And so ought this since I’ve now paid my penalty. So, for my next post I’ll expound on something more intelligent. It might even be another history related topic. (Suck that, Crimmy.)

About crispina kemp

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
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6 Responses to The Wind In The Willows by Iris Einstein

  1. Brian Bixby says:

    At least some of the private prep schools in the U.S., including the one I attended, back when Latinists roamed the Earth, still used “forms,” with fifth form equivalent to junior year in high school, or 11th grade.

    I have a theory that you were called “Jacks” because of an annual cross-dressing party that was officially disapproved of by the administration, but which they actually supported as one of the school’s priceless traditions. This is not an empirically-tested theory, though.

    So if trees create winds, then tress that break in wind storms must have overexerted themselves. The next question is why the trees cause the wind.


    • crimsonprose says:

      Why, not how? It’s a very old tradition. They do it on rota. Monday, it’s the trees up north; Tuesday, it’s the turn of the Midland trees, etc. The tradition predates Gog and Magog. It possibly even predates dates the age of the dinosaurs – who, incidentally, died out because they had hay-fever (their extinction coincides with the advent of pollen-bearing plants. Poor giant lizards, so busy sneezing they didn’t have time to mate. (That’s an extra theory thrown in by Iris Einstein (or IE for short). And though I have said of why we were called the Jacks: red, white and blue, I do like your theory. That would make us, really, the Jills. Female ferrets? I’m not sure about that, though it would have appealed to Blowers. And our ‘forms’ counted from 1st year senior school at 11/12 yrs old, so 5th formers were 15/16 yrs old, and troublesome, Upper 6th were 18 yrs old, taking A levels, applying to university or seeking a job. In those very ancient days when I was at school, those at the ordinary secondary schools were still leaving at age 15 having taken e.g Pitmans maths, English, typing & shorthand. How times have changed!


      • Brian Bixby says:

        The trees might have been responsible for the dinosaur extinction, then: before they created the wind, how could the pollen have got up the nostrils of the dinosaurs?

        That was my mother’s case in Scotland back around 1940: she left at 14 to become a clerk in an optics firm.

        Sounds like the “forms” system was altered a bit when imported to the U.S., to correspond to the public school grades. Though they kept the requirement for classics, so I ended up with 3 years of Latin and 3 years of ancient Greek.


      • crimsonprose says:

        Greek. Impressed. You have to learn more than a language; there’s also the alphabet. Though I got to grips with that when I was in Bulgaria.
        The pollen didn’t travel by wind, not in the age of dinosaurs. It got up the various-saurs noses when they bashed against the plants in their haste to escape/catch their predators/prey. Fair spread the pollen everywhere, all that brushing and crushing.
        By the way, back to Classics, Iris tells me her next theory concerns Mithras (he who looks like a cross-dressing woman in his statues.Cute little hat! I’ve no idea what her theory is, though. Maybe it’s just that: that he was a cross-dressing woman.
        And it occurred to me that ‘The Jills’ would make a good name for a detective agency, with the slogan, “We ferret out the truth”. 🙂


  2. Judy says:

    The trees don’t make the wind on purpose. They have to rustle their leaves to communicate. Angry trees can really howl up a storm. But the conversation of love is the gentle voice of a palm frond.


    • crimsonprose says:

      I must pass this on to my daughter. She thinks the tree theory is a sign of encroaching insanity – though a good many years have passed since I first voiced it. I do like your version. 🙂


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