Wednesday, April 02, 2008

wind advisory

Click on the cartoon, above, from Jack “the Stargazer” Horkheimer to read the apparent origin of the old saying “in like a lion, out like a lamb” referring to the month of March. I find the story especially compelling since I am a Leo lion married to an Aries lamb.

Monday I’m not sure if March went “out like a lamb.” It did get warmer here in Michigan. But the wind kicked up, and we had a thunderstorm, both things I love, most of the time.

When I was a girl, we used to sit on our big front porch while thunderstorms pelted the ground, lit up the sky and filled the drain gutters to overflowing in our small town. We loved it.

In the middle of a windstorm at the lake I remember watching from the cottage down the hill while one of my sisters sat perched at the end of the dock, wrapped in a thick blanket, staring at white capped waves blowing across the water, her hair snapping like a flame.

In an airplane in 1975, I didn’t love high winds when returning from an eight week study abroad program in Europe, into the little Lansing airport. The winds were so gusty that our pilot, just before landing, suddenly torqued up our engines and soared back into the clouds for a different approach, into the wind. My parents were on the ground watching our wing tips dip side to side, almost scraping the tarmac.

Another time I didn’t like high winds was in ’79 when Don and I drove into southern California on one of our twenty-something adventures at midnight ready to pitch a tent in the KOA campground in the middle of a Santa Ana (pronounced “Santana”) windstorm. We managed to pound the tent stakes into the cement-like ground, but the wind flapped our tent so violently we couldn’t sleep, even though we had been driving west through and from Texas all day and were exhausted. We tried sleeping in our sleeping bags sitting in the front seats of our little Dodge Horizon. No good either. Then we drove another hour to Ginnie’s house (they weren’t home) in Pasadena and pitched our tent in their back yard (no doubt giving the neighbors pause).

I don’t like driving my tiny Chevy Aveo in high winds because it isn’t heavy enough on the road and gets blown around while I hold the steering wheel tight. Remember the Yugo that got blown off the Mackinac Bridge?

In 1989, a tragic accident captured the front pages of state newspapers. Leslie Pluhar's 1987 Yugo, a small car, plunged from the bridge more than 150 feet to the straits below. It was the first vehicle to fall off the five-mile span since it opened. Gale force winds blowing from the northwest helped lift her car off the roadway and over the side. In 1990, a Senate committee recommended replacing the bridge's 36-inch high outer railing with a 48-inch railing that curves inward toward the bridge deck.

Let me tell you, I thought about that incident when I drove across the same bridge last October.

But when I’m at home in my warm house, in jammies reading the latest New Yorker or The Sun, I love to hear a wind storm howl outside. That erratic tap tap tap of branches on the window and an occasional look out at the tilting trees, flexible and strong, is reassuring, even though I know most likely there will be branches torn and grounded by next morning.

This photo of our corn crib shows seeds blowing last May - not snow


Ginnie said...

From where did we get our love of storms, Ruth? I have passed it down to my kids and grandson, as I'm sure you have to yours. It's in my blood from somewhere. I'm in awe of them and know how dangerous they can be. But they are a reminder that there is so much more than just ME out there, which I find comforting.

Ruth said...

Boots, I think it's right there in your words. You passed it on, someone (Mom?) passed it on to you. But I recall you telling me the story of when you were quite afraid of a storm once, and someone helped you through it?

Bob Johnson said...

Love all kinds of storms, as long as I'm in the safety of my own home looking out of the windows, definitely not on a plane, where I could crash and burn! And as always you images are awesome.

Sandy said...

What a great read Ruth. I really enjoyed it and the photos. My favorite photo being that lamp in front of the nostalgic feeling for me in some way.

Yes, the winds down here in So Cal get crazy! The last two years they have increased in frequency but not so much in intensity, where I live anyway.

Really enjoyed reading you.


Don said...

I love when the storms roll through the farm. I especially like it when we get to go pick up the fallen branches for future bonfires!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Bob, have you ever been caught in a storm out with your stargazing camera?

Ruth said...

Sandy, thank you so much. We all have lots of stories to tell, I'm glad you liked these. And yes, that little lamp is one of my favorites too.

I forgot you were from So Cal until your comment. Asked Don, he said yep. Even had to go back to your profile to be completely convinced. Don't know why I was picturing you in the northwest. Have you been affected by the fires at all where you are? I know from experience that no matter where you live down there you can smell them at least.

Ruth said...

Don, you do? Cool! Then I'll let you do all that picking up if you like it so much! Oh, you said "we."

Yep, we've had some doozies roll through, haven't we?

Sandy said...

Hi Ruth, in 2003 we were affected with our resident in the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains, while at the same time our cabin up in Green Valley Lake was threatened by the east end of the big blaze.

The fire down here came to the back fence, the fire made it's own tornado effect and came right down the hills in a swirl of ash and embers. They were dancing on the roof and we had to take off quickly. Our son (darn him and bless him) insisted on staying behind and with the help of a neighbor who had a water truck saved all the homes on our road.

We were within two weeks of having a wedding in our yard for a friend, and when we came back to the house, all was covered with ash inside and out because I had left a window open unknown to me at the time.

The fires last year were horrible but we weren't directly affected except for the thick smoke and ash around.

I could go on and on but that's enough, haha. You didn't ask for a book....

I never want to be in that situation again and in 2004 we sold the cabin because of the forest dying off due to fires and bark was gloomy to me...

I miss it though.

Ruth said...

Sandy, I guess you have been affected. Jeepers. Scary about your son. I have a friend in AZ who stayed with his house when it was threatened by wildfires a couple of years ago, spraying hose water on it. Sad about the cabin.

I guess Nature tells us when it's time to move sometimes.

mystic rose said...

Yes, like you, I like being inside, warm and comfortable, looking out and feeling the strength of nature when the weather is awesome. Last Wednesday was terrible, so cold and windy.

I do love thunderstorms though and the winds that accompany them, they are just perfect, calling me to run out into the backyard.

mystic rose said...

And that story about March, lion and lamb, i always thought it had something to do with the mood of the weather in the itself. :)

mystic rose said...

Thank you for helping me with the poem. It came out so much better and simpler. (This is where defragmentation helped.) But seriously, I can see Ive learnt from you.

Ruth said...

Mystic, I think you and I could run around outside in the wind and rain like kids.

I thought the lion and lamb were about the weather too, and it always seemed that if March began calm, it would end up blustery, and vice versa.

As for the poem, you know I loved it, it was a needed diversion from (ahem) work. We learn from each other. You have sensibilities that need to be expressed, that we need to hear, and that inspire me also to write and express what is in me. That's a gift.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Ruth , no never, Usually don't get set up unless the clear sky clock says clear weather, also now with my dome, I can go out and not have to worry about getting caught in the rain, just close the dome. :)

Ruth said...

Bob, you have some cool gear.