Thursday, November 6, 2008

The River of Air


Very high winds here all night and all day today. So far they have amounted to a constant 30-40 mph, with sustained gusts to 60 or so. This is supposed to go on until early evening.

The cliché descriptive simile for high winds is "like a freight train," but there is nothing mechanical or artificial about the High Plains wind. It is more like I live on the banks of a wild, cascading river: a river of air.

The wind is a constant presence on the plains; something you are aware of even in its occasional absence. It pokes and probes at the joints of your house and looks for weak spots in your clothing, using dust or snow or merely the nimble fingers of the wind itself to search for weakness. In the winter it is a constant reminder of the puniness of man in the face of a great, unrelenting force.

But even in the face of this display of nature's pre-eminence I can offer an array of artificial aids: a warm fireplace, a pile of split and ready firewood, an R-39 insulated home, satellite radio, the internet. All good, so long as the wind leaves the electric umbilical in place. And if it comes down, as it often does, the fireplace still works and there is always the genny in the shop waiting to be called to duty.

3 comments:

Roxie said...

Near gale-force winds are howling outside our house as well. The whistling really gets to a person after awhile. Once this is over, I'll know which parts of the house need attention.

We're never far away from our river of air. Rivers of water aren't so common here, but the river of air never stops making its presence known.

Anonymous said...

I notice, as I become older, that the wind seems to go right through my clothing.


I, too, am thankful for the "utilical cord" of electricity. The shortwave radio, the tape player, altho' they also run on batteries, are a comfort, along with the darned internet. I could use oil lamps, but the flick of a switch is a nice convenience.

The wind shakes the house and its loudness is sometimes cause for sleeping with earplugs.

Glad you've got a fireplace and a generator. We ought all to have them.

Brigid said...

River of air - fitting, your post in that I also wrote last night, and posted today about currents and rivers, both on land in skyward.

I'm looking forward to going home, though I did get to witness some good thunderstorms yesterday.