When the kids were little and the weather would change over to winter we would cuddle in our big bed and I would tell them the north wind had come. We would snuggle under a pile of soft downy quilts and the wind was our excuse for hot cocoa and ghost stories. In Kansas they call them Twisters. In the south of France they call it the Mistral. In New England we call them Nor’easters. Big wind. By whatever name. Gale force winds that run up one side of a mountain and come screaming down the other side picking up speed as they go.
Our chickens tuck their heads under their wings and crowd together as close as they can get puffing their feathers up and out as the howling starts. It is otherworldly, the sounds of these big winds. And you can see it too. The trees in the distance start to bend and sway and then you hear the whistling. Eventually it is almost a roar as your own trees dip and bend next to the earth.
Here in this high valley surrounded on all sides by the mountains the wind whips up and down and all around. A good one can blow the fire right out of your fireplace and likewise it can feed a fire making what was a little cheery looking thing into a blazing hearth.
I love the wind. I love it when it rustles and whispers. And I love it when it howls and whips too. But I am not silly about it. We have candles going. We know to lay in a store of fresh water. I tend to bake bread and get a soup pot going before the big storms so we will have the comfort of homey food when the power goes. We all gravitate to the library. The dogs and cats stick close. We bring their beds down and pile covers in front of the fire where we play Pinochle and Monopoly.
Because wind like anything else is an excuse. It can be an excuse to listen to storm center and be scared and hide your eyes. Then it becomes an excuse to worry and fret and feel victimized by all that you cannot control. It can be another kind of excuse too of course. It can be the one we use to play hooky. We can hear the wind and make warm foods and snuggle in with the people we love and who love us back. Sometimes no matter how well we prepare it will cause damage. That’s life. It is a story and like every other kind of story some people will make it horrible and some people will make it funny. There will always be the folks who choose horror but there will also always be people reading good character novels and the ones who prefer an exciting thriller. There will be mystery lovers and good -for-you nonfiction people too. We cannot change the way the wind blows any more than we can change the stories that happen to us. The only control we ever have is how we react to what comes and that becomes the story we tell.
When the wind blows I want to be drinking hot thick spicy cocoa made with raw milk from the cows just up the road. It will blow. Roof tiles will fly off and every once in a while a porch will collapse. Sometimes worse. I know. It’s true. But not always. Not every time. Sometimes we will just get to miss a day of work and make fudge. You never know which one you are going to get so you might as well stock up on the butter and chocolate chips just in case.