What is it about wind that pushes me to write? Perhaps I just need the distraction, something to draw my eyes from the window where delicate, interlacing tree branches and twigs sway hypnotically.
When I was younger, I enjoyed a windy day – especially a windy summer day. I loved watching big, bellowing white clouds scudding across the sky, the view literally changing by the minute. The hay fields behind my house in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would bend and ripple like water on a slow-moving river.
Or a stormy autumn evening, the sound of the wind moaning through the trees and rain rattling against the windows making the perfect backdrop for a bowl of soup and a good book by the fire.
Winter wind is a whole different animal.
Back in Michigan, it often brought with it blizzards and chest-deep, brilliantly white snow drifts. I occasionally had drifts so high and solidly packed, I could walk up them to the roof of my garage. I got a lot of use out of my big John Deere snowblower!
In the region of Alaska I now call home, winter winds thankfully seldom carry fresh snow in the form of blizzards, but will sometimes send yesterday’s snowfall scurrying across the landscape in near white-out inducing blasts of frigid air.
I’ll admit, though, to sometimes enjoying watching “snow snakes” slithering in undulating white flurries across the road as I drive to town.
Nope, I’m not fond of winter winds in Alaska. On a cold, sub-zero day, wind-chill can drop the already numbing cold another 20° lower and scour the frozen ground, leaving fragile crusts of ice atop every surface, and making even walking the dogs treacherous.
Roads and driveways, blasted temporarily free of snow, can become sheets of ice for the unwary driver or walker. Studded tires and ice-gripper boots are the norm.
Then comes spring, and the wind becomes my friend again, albeit a fickle one at best. A warm spring wind can herald in spring rains, softening and eventually breaking up the ice and melting the snow.
Of course, likely as not, being spring in Alaska – the temps will drop overnight and the wet, melting snow will all turn to ice underfoot again. Ack!
And still, on the -5F December day, I listen to the wind … and dream of spring.