Breeze; Blessing or Curse?

Among people who’ve actually been here, the San Luis Valley is famous for its wind. Most people who have been here — not just driving through past my house — have come to visit Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Wind at the Sand Dunes is a combination curse and blessing. Sand blowing around gets in your eyes, your skin, your nose etc. etc. BUT it keeps the mosquitoes away when you’re trying to enjoy your PBJ at the picnic table. Great Sand Dunes National Park reopens today with a long list of precautions and warnings. Oddly, everyone will be safer if the wind keeps blowing.

Bear and I love the wind and we don’t care how hard it’s blowing or how cold it is. For us, it’s a friend. There’s that mosquito thing. Then, if it’s blowing hard enough, no one is playing golf, though San Luis Valley golfers are a hardy bunch and they’ll play golf in snow.

One fun phenomenon here in the Big Empty is wind blowing in two directions at once. There are mountains to the east and mountains to the west, different ranges. If the wind blows over each range, it comes from different directions, that happens most often in spring, the dust cloud gets “stuck” in the wind. You can see this in the featured photo. The dust cloud had made it all the way, blowing from the east, across the fields between Alamosa and Monte Vista. It hit the wind coming from the west over the San Juans and got “stuck.” North winds happen with storms. Most of the time, though, the wind blows from the south and while it might be fierce and dusty, it’s just wind.

Walking north in a hard wind in winter is a sport all by itself, fun if you’re dressed for it.

Me impersonating Roald Amundsen. I wonder if he would have liked the kind of high tech warm-wear we have now?

Otherwise, I’m having a hard time sleeping these days. I wake up at 1 feeling anxious and weird and don’t go back to sleep until 3 or so. I’m pretty damned tired, and I bet I’m not the only one. Hang in there, everybody.


https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/rdp-wednesday-breezy/

Wind

The word “wind” makes me laugh because it blows most of the time here. All the trees list to the northeast FOREVER because of the the wind that comes down from the San Juans. That little poem about “who has seen the wind?” isn’t strictly true. During early spring plowing here you can see it, revealed by the dust.

I’ve written about the wind a LOT. Looking to see what, I looked for my posts and I can’t do better this morning than I’ve done already.

Wind, December 2018

River, Wind, Frogs and Birds

Wild, Windy Day (Photos ❤ )

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/07/13/rdp-saturday-wind/

Wind

Sometimes you go out for a walk only because your big white dog is yammering at you from the back yard yelling, “Human! It’s time! It’s time!” You agree, it is time, but the winds are gusting at 40 mph (64 kph) and it’s not all that warm. Not all that cold, either, but combine the wind with the 36 F (2 C) degree temps and it’s not Key West.

So you put on your fancy new wool and fleece mid-layer and your ultra-light semi-puffy jacket. You grab your new Buff, because, dammit, the wind in your face walking north isn’t going to be fun OR healthy. Your little fleece hat is in the pocket of your ultra-light jacket.

Things go OK until you get out in the open and you and your dog are blasted sideways, but you walked to school uphill both ways (actually, it’s true…) in the snow in Nebraska as a kid and this is NOTHING.

The wind has scoured the air and the clouds are low, bringing the sky within reach. Only a couple of undaunted ravens attempt to surf this wind. Un-trapped dead leaves dance past your feet. The patches of snow have not so much melted as evaporated.

You hope to see “your” herd of deer. You regret saying to them that you’re not friends. You’ve thought about it in the meantime and you think you might be. You hope you’ll see them, but the usual place is a mile straight into the wind the whole way. It doesn’t sound at all like fun, so you turn, resolving to take a Bear walk which is slow, rambling, lacking direction but revelatory of animal visits to your dog, anyway.

The fierce wind blocks out all sounds except the cry of a surprised raven. You stop while Bear does a thorough examination of the ground around a cottonwood. You look toward the train cars to see if your deer are anywhere around, but they aren’t. The walk continues when suddenly you notice someone has tagged the tank cars with the word, “Wild.” You love it.


You go on with no destination, stopping often for your dog to examine the ground. The sun has gone behind a small cloud, and the wind and light have brought a mountain close. The world has emptied of humanity and nothing remains but you and your dog, the immense Wild! beyond the train cars, the light and the mountain. In the strange solitude of this “ordinary” walk, you remember what you love and that it loves you.

Weather Report

Winds in the San Luis Valley blast between the San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos. Spring winds carry newly turned soil in dust clouds from one side of the valley to the other. Winter’s bitter winds drive drifts against snow fences and mountains. Summer winds ahead of thunderstorms clear the air awakening somnolent crops. Fall winds scatter golden cottonwood and aspen leaves across a blue, blue sky. The oldest trees lean, knowing that resisting the wind is the easiest way to break.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/rdp-monday-blast/

“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.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/abrupt/