The wind has been whipping for the last 2 days. Looking on Weather Underground, it was averaging 36-44 mph yesterday. Those were tropical storm force winds, but there was nary a stormcloud in sight. It's a little calmer today, with speeds of 20-30 mph being regularly recorded.
For years I would get upset about the prairie winds. They made gardening difficult, drying out the soil, drying out plant roots, drying out newly transplanted plants. They made housework difficult, bringing dirt and dust into the house with great efficiency. They yanked car doors and house doors out of my hands, blowing them open or blowing them shut with great force. They made walking and talking outdoors difficult. They grabbed dropped papers and deposited them yards away in a blink of an eye...and kept depositing them farther and farther away, the more you chased after them. And they made looking neat, with well-groomed hair, almost impossible.
Then we moved to Mobile. The air sits still there, full of humidity. At 70 degrees you feel like you are swimming through water. Sweat doesn't get dried off and blown away, it pools on your skin, adding to the heat rather than subtracting from it. When you pull a weed out and place it on the ground, you have to be careful or it will reroot because it takes days for the roots to dry out, if they ever do. For weeks I would feel like I never truly got dry.
So I missed the wind. Oddly enough, it was one of the things that I missed most about the prairie - that, and the enormous vistas and the sunsets and the sight of thunderstorms rolling in across the vast expanses.
Now when the wind blows, I smile a bit. It still makes a mockery of my attempts to keep my hair tidy. It still distributes dirt and dust into every nook and cranny of my house, despite my best efforts to keep things clean. It still sucks the moisture out of plant roots and leaves and skin and soil. And it still blows papers into the next county before you can turn around.
But it feels alive. And fresh. And invigorating. And I think that I will always carry with me, now, a secret glory in its very strength and wildness.