Saturday, February 3, 2018

Oh, The Wind.... Wind... Wind.... WIND!

Sitting here, safely enclosed within my second floor apartment, I can easily understand how many pioneer women were pushed beyond their sanity limit by the constant blowing of the wind.  I grew up, pretty much, in the east; I was three when we moved from Virginia to Tennessee, and was five when we left Kingsville, Texas for Gainesville, Florida.  I grew up with stories of tornadoes and the Dust Bowl in Kansas and Oklahoma, and with stories about hurricanes and high water on Chincoteague.  Spending my school years in Florida, I was highly conversant with hurricanes and hurricane winds.  We always lived in the suburbs, and had neighbors near by.
   The winds that I have encountered in Boulder, Colorado are of a different variety than the sudden rain squalls on the island, and from hurricane winds.   I find I get very tired after the wind has been blowing here for 8 hours or more. It doesn't matter if I'm in an apartment, a small house, or a huge mansion - the wind is tiring.  Here, in the apartment I call home, I live on a corner of the building.  We have a full size sliding glass door onto the balcony, a single large window in my bedroom looking west, another large window facing west in Bea's room, and she also has two smaller south-face windows, one in her walk-in closet.  The only way to get fresh air inside is to open either of the two bedroom windows, the slider onto the balcony, or the entrance door.- Not that we want to open things up when it's windy.
   The exhaust flap for the dryer is above my bedroom window, as is the exhaust vent for the stove.  When the wind blows, both of those flaps move with the air.  I hear it in my bedroom, in the hall beside the dryer, and in the kitchen near the range.  With big gusts, the windows shake and shudder in their frames.  Now, I know that this building was built to withstand straight-line winds of up to 120 miles per hour - but it's not something that's easy to get used to.
  So, when I'm getting myself worked up about the wind, and how edgy it makes me feel, I think of pioneer women.  Women who were used to hard work and privation, who were used to "making do" with what was available, but who had grown up with a large family, usually where another house was within walking distance...  And here they are, inside a soddy, or a small cabin, probably not well sealed, listening to the wind blow and blow and blow, through the cracks, around the corners... blowing sand, snow, whatever inside, insinuating itself through every vestigial opening.  No one to speak with, except a husband, who was busy with his own worries... And, frequently, no other women around except in a day's travel time.  It is no wonder that so many women were placed into institutions, or killed themselves, or left to find a place without wind, and disappeared into the prairies and mountains.
   I am very lucky that I can retreat into books, or music, or the television.  I usually read during windy days... today I'm working on my family genealogy, but I find myself getting irritated when the PC slows down, or the *@#^$%* Comcast connection interrupts service.  So, I think I'll go back to a book - and read - because of the wind.....

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