Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 29: Wind Advisory

Current weather topics: today's roaring wind, and the big storm predicted for New Year's Day. I haven't been able to find out much about Friday's storm--and since I've got no travel plans for that day, that's alright. But I do know from first-hand experience that today's wind is brutal.

Weather Underground tells me there's a "Wind Advisory until 7 PM EST this evening," and warns of downed branches and power lines, and "dangerous driving conditions over open areas... especially for high profile vehicles." Guess I won't be driving my double-decker bus home tonight. My ears tell me there's a giant roaring monster outside that would like to wrap the building in trees and fling it into the ocean. And the last time I ventured out the door, my skin agreed with the report of Northwest winds gusting from 20 to 40 MPH. Wind chill's dropped an already bone-chilling 10 degrees to about 5 below.

Some people delight in high winds, in feeling nature's power moving through the world, the dynamic, kinetic energy our planet generates without any help from humans. That's cool in concept, but really, strong winds just make me very anxious. I can hear things blowing around outside, thumping against the house. Before darkness fell, I could see mature trees rocking in the storm as if they were stalks of grass on a windswept plain. The windows rattle. Lines from King Lear come to mind: "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!" Not a happy play, and Lear himself doesn't fare well out in the elements, if I recall.

When I was a kid we lived for several months in a farmhouse with a three-story barn that was just outside my bedroom window. The open barn door was like a giant dark maw that howled with a fierce wind every night while I lay awake, afraid of what was out there. Perhaps that childish fear is with me still as I sit at my desk, shivering despite the heat, cringing as each gust accelerates, gains power, and crashes through the trees and down the street like an invisible tsunami.

Winds from Canada--
thundering caribou herds
sweeping the tundra.

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