Outside my window, the winds are blustering and blasting my house, whistling in through any crack they can find, sending anything loose tumbling down the street (including a tumbleweed that looks somehow out of place in this tidy suburb).
I glare at the wildly tossing arms of a pine, but of course it’s windy. It is March. Springtime, sort of, and in Colorado, that means Wind Season.
Now, I understand there are those of you out there who like the wind, who love the sound of it tiptoeing through the trees in your sylvan forests, while little birds whistle and tweet in the upper branches. Or maybe you like the winds over the oceans, each sound echoing the other.
I hate the wind. Hate it. It is a four-letter word around here. As a natural born naturalist, I do understand that it has a place in the ecosystem—sweeping something or another away, shaking out the dust from every crevice and cranny, clearing entire fields of vegetation and then recycling it into my hair, face, nose, and clothing—but you cannot make me like it.
In The English Patient, one character tells another of all the words the people of the Sahara have for wind—a dozen or more, winds that burn and winds with a thousand tongues and a wind “which rolls and rolls and produces a nervous condition.”
As a native of this blustery place, I wanted to memorize that list of words. Africo and alms and arifi winds, ahboobs and harmattans.
I need a thousand words for wind, too, not just a blustery wind, or a howling wind, but Wind-That-Springs-Up-At-Two-A.M.-And-Knocks-All-The-Fences-Down. Or Imp Winds—a wind that steadily blows in one direction at approximately 32 miles per hour, then switches and gusts to 70 from another direction, sending hair, clothes, groceries flying.
Now, I will say that we do not have hurricanes or—God forbid—tornadoes here. (Is there any weather worse than tornadoes? I can’t imagine what it is.) It is routine to get winds to 60 and 70 mph, sometimes even sustained winds at that level, but mostly, through the spring and they damage things, but usually only in an annoying way. Fences, trees, cars. Your hair. Mainly, they’re just insanity makers. Blowing, blowing, gusting. Stop. Blow, gust, blow gust gust gust gust blow. Stop.
When we were children, my siblings and I knew to tiptoe into the house on days like this. My mother would be slamming pots and pans, muttering under her breath, mad as hell at just about everything, but mainly the “stupid wind.” You can’t do anything outside. Grassy fields catch fire. My dog gives me the saddest eyes in the world, but I still can’t take him for a walk. All I can do is stay inside and rub my red eyes and hope April will hurry up and get here.
What are the names of the wind in your part of the world? Do you like wind, or like me, do you hate it?