“But When the Trees…”

Things around here feel chaotic, but I think it’s the wind. The wind blows in the San Luis Valley (it’s famous for it) but not (so far in my experience) as it has this winter and spring. You can almost see the moisture evaporating from the flowers. Whoever set up my yard had the wind in mind. The side yard (where my garden is, usually) is sheltered on all sides. Outside my back (side) door is a concrete ramp with a wall and a covering over it. It’s wonderful in winter and the wall blocks the wind from the west. On the east side of the yard is a tall lilac hedge the blocks the wind from the east. A fench blocks the north wind and I put up a privacy fence on the south that blocks any remaining stray wind (and some traffic noise).

The yard is a little oasis, shelter from the storms. I’ve even figured out how to set it up, finally. I look forward to being able to do that.

The other day my doc (a sincere, caring young woman who spent a couple years in Africa helping people with HIV) confessed that the wind makes her grumpy, all other weather is fine, but wind? My PT was very stressed out because of the wind on one of the days I went for therapy. “I can’t stand this wind,” he said. It was a very windy day; that is true. I didn’t park in front of the light post. Who knew? It made me think of James Michener’s Centennial, 

It was not a roaring wind that deafened, but it had a penetrating quality that set the nerves on edge, so that at some unexpected moment a farmer, or more often his wife, would suddenly shout, “Damn the wind! Doesn’t it ever let up?”

In June the howling subsided, and residents of the lonely homes across the prairie looked back with wry amusement at the way they had responded to it. “It really set my nerves jangling…”

To me a steady wind is no problem. It’s when the wind decides to become dramatic and interesting that I start to lose it. I know it’s because of fires and Santa Ana winds in my California life. The last spring I lived in California, we had the highest winds ever recorded in my tiny area. During the night I heard the wind (70 mph) start abruptly, suddenly, with a roar at the top of my street. I lay there and listened, following its “whoosh” as it blasted past my house. That night barns were lifted and dropped. The power company turned off the electricity in the mountain towns that morning for fear a random, otherwise innocent spark would set the world on fire.

Gusts that high are rare here in the San Luis Valley, but they happen sending the tumbleweeds racing.

I adapted Christina Rossetti’s poem for the San Luis Valley…

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the roofs start flying past,
The wind is passing through.
 Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees their branches throw,
The wind is passing by.


17 thoughts on ““But When the Trees…”

  1. We also get very windy days now and then, but sagebrush – never. Is that what is hanging on the wires. That would really be something completely different for the Swiss way of life

    • That’s a tumbleweed hung up on the wires. You can see how they will go tumbling across the landscape, even in a relatively light wind.

    • That’s a tumbleweed. They’re designed to propogate their species by rambling across the plains. Tumbleweeds are (IMO) any weed that breaks loose and tumbles in the wind, but there’s a species, Russian Thistle, that’s (according to some of my pedantic friends) the “REAL” tumbleweed. I disagree but mostly just keep my opinions on that to myself. 😉 https://www.desertusa.com/flowers/tumbleweed.html

  2. And then there’s Wyoming. . .
    Growing up in south Boulder, I’m used to the periodic windstorms, and very high (100mph plus) gusts. But not that constant blow that you and Michener are writing about. WE had that a few days back, and t was amazing how quickly it became tiresome.

    All systems go for next Monday?

    • As far as I know, all systems are go for Monday. I listened to the guided imaging recording yesterday, and I was surprised by the place I landed on as the place where I felt safe, but I’m good with it. I’m off to pick up my lab results in a little while.

  3. I love that poem! The wind doesn’t worry me. I understand how it can be unsettling to others though. We get 90 – 120 mph winds here but where I lived we had 200+ winds which I wouldn’t want to be caught in definitely.

  4. Yep, it makes me grumpy too. I have memories of riding my pony on windy days. She would dance and prance the whole time, and one time she even bolted with me on her. Little toad. I was reminded of this again, when I took my dog to obedience training. It was blowing a gale and she was as prancy as that little pony and wouldn’t pay me any attention at all. And every Summer now (and increasingly other seasons) we have those hot dry winds that sap the moisture from everything. In our (coincidentally) 2003 bushfires, it was found that the fires generate their own wind. The wind in the fires was blowing with the force of an atomic bomb (or meteor impact), where all the trees are flattened in one direction, leaving just a wasteland. Very scary.

    • It is very, very scary. I’m a little “better” than I was living in CA. A day of hard wind back there, the electricity turned off, living in the hills, having gone through a fire (2003 must have been the year from hell), I was a basket case. Sometimes I loaded the dogs in the car and just drove somewhere so I could hear what was on the radio. It was worse if I could see smoke in the mountains to the east. As you know, we’ve had one grass fire here — in early April! — and that does not bode well at all. 😦

  5. The wind is not something I have been able to adjust to living on the prairies. It drives me crazy. A day without wind is rare. The wind scares my dog Ophelia; often she will come running back from the yard in a panic.

    • It bothers a lot of people more than it bothers me — unless there’s fire involved then I’m inches from insanity until the crisis has passed. My dogs don’t care at all. Only the dogs who went through the fire with me in 2003 — they were definitely traumatized by it and the wind made them crazy.

      • Fire adds a whole other element to it. We had a fire in the SW here last summer and several communities had to be evacuated. A colleague lost her home, and of course many livestock were lost too. I don’t blame you for being unsettled when fire and the wind and are combined, pretty scary stuff!

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