Wind

It seems I have landed in a particularly windy place here in Vermont.

November and December have, so far, brought some magnificent wind storms. Gusts in the 30-40 mph range. Regularly. Will this continue through the rest of the winter months? Time will tell. I’m new here.

One such wind storm came through last night. It kept me awake all night. The National Weather Service issued a warning for gusts of 40 mph. What I experienced were gusts at least that strong every few minutes – rattling windows and moaning through the tall maples and evergreen trees surrounding my yard – all night long. The dogs slept through it. I was envious of their obliviousness. Sleep; all I wanted was sleep! The unending series of gusts/calm/gusts and accompanying change in air pressure gave me a rare nighttime headache. I read. I tossed and turned. I read some more. I considered searching for earplugs I haven’t used in years and hate. Anything for a little sleep.

Wide awake, I was thinking about… wind. I mean, if this is my new lot in life, how am I going to handle it? I can’t control the wind, I can only control how I choose to respond to it. There is so much I love about my new home and surroundings. I can’t and won’t let wind tarnish that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good wind storm.

Once in a while. Just not…regularly.

It finally occurred to me that perhaps this sort of windy wintry weather is what others living on this open, higher-elevation ridge have been hinting at since I arrived. “We have our own micro-climate up here,” they tell me. I assumed they meant snow depth.

Lying in bed, frustratingly awake, I resolved to become friends with the wind. The dogs don’t mind it (mostly), so why should I? There are lulls in the strong winds, for hours, even days. I just need to be flexible about when we head outside to play, taking advantage of the calm. Doable.

I think it was about 5:00 am this morning when I flashed upon a fond memory involving wind: They Call the Wind Maria. When I was in high school, I watched a movie on TV with my father: Paint Your Wagon. We loved it! I’ve watched it a few times since then, and each time I fall in love with it all over again. It’s a musical Western about the mid-1800s California gold rush, starring Lee Marvin and a young Clint Eastwood. It’s based on a 1951 musical and premiered in 1969 when I was thirteen and oh so impressionable.

The most memorable song from the movie is They Call the Wind Maria.

Here’s the video of actor Harve Presnall singing it. Oh, be still my heart! I’ve fallen in love all over again. That voice, that beard, those eyes! The heartbreak!

I also fell in love with both Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. I fell in love easily back then.

Some trivia about the song: The American singer, songwriter and producer Mariah Carey was named after it. Maria Creek, a glacial meltwater stream in Antarctica, was so named because of the strong winds in the area. And an episode of the TV series M*A*S*H is called, “They Call the Wind Korea.”

When I googled the song, I spelled the name Mariah. Turns out I was wrong. It’s pronounced that way, but is spelled Maria. From Wikipedia:

In George Rippey Stewart’s 1941 novel Storm, he names the storm that is the protagonist of his story Maria. In 1947, Stewart wrote a new introduction for a reprint of the book, and discussed the pronunciation of “Maria”: “The soft Spanish pronunciation is fine for some heroines, but our Maria here is too big for any man to embrace and much too boisterous.” He went on to say, “So put the accent on the second syllable, and pronounce it ‘rye'”.

The success of Stewart’s novel was one factor that motivated U.S. military meteorologists to start the informal practice of giving women’s names to storms in the Pacific during World War II. The practice became official in 1945. In 1953, a similar system of using women’s names was adopted for North Atlantic storms. This continued until 1979, when men’s names were incorporated into the system. Although Stewart’s novel is set in 1935, the novel and its effect on meteorology later inspired Lerner and Lowe to write a song for their play about the California gold rush, and like Stewart, they too gave a wind storm the name Maria, which is pronounced /məˈraɪ.ə/. The lines throughout the song end in feminine rhymes mostly using the long ‘i’ sound /aɪ/, echoing the stress pattern and vowel sound of the name Maria.

Here are the lyrics.

Away out here they’ve got a name for rain and wind and fire.

The rain is Tess, the fire’s Joe. They call the wind Maria.

Maria blows the stars around and sets the clouds a-flyin’.

Maria makes the mountains sound like folks was out there dyin’.

Maria. (Maria). Maria. (Maria). They call the wind Maria.

Before I knew Maria’s name and heard her wail and whinin’, I had a gal.

She had me and the sun was always shinin’.

But then one day I left my gal.

I left her far behind me and now I’m lost, so gol’ darn lost not even God can find me.

Maria. (Maria.) Maria. (Maria.) They call the wind Maria.

Out here they have a name for rain and wind and fire only.

When you’re lost and all alone, there ain’t no name for lonely.

And I’m a lost and lonely man without a star to guide me.

Maria blow my love to me. I need my gal beside me.

Maria. (Maria.) They call the wind Maria. Maria! Maria. (Maria.) They call the wind Maria.

A song of longing, regret, and loneliness, with a hopeful plea.

Yes. Those are the emotions a windstorm evokes. I felt all of them last night, listening to the wind buffet my house and the trees. With the holidays approaching, I’ve been wallowing in nostalgia and feeling not a little alone in my new home, most of the neighbors I’ve met having decamped for warmer climes for the winter. There’s nothing like a howling wind outside to make one feel small and alone, a little fearful, but ultimately grateful – even hopeful – having survived and realizing it’s time to focus on life’s cherished gifts.

A cleansing wind. Renewal.

I’m now here on this ridge for good and bad. It’s my home. The wind will continue doing its thing, regardless of my wishes. So, my choice?

Embrace the wind.

And sing to myself, They Call the Wind Maria.

***

Here’s a glimpse of what the windstorms I’m experiencing are like.

That video was taken the morning of November 26th. In addition to all-night wind the night before, it had snowed. I awoke to drifts of snow against the door leading into the yard, covering the steps. The dogs were hesitant to go outside, wondering what happened to the steps, but also because the wind was still howling.

Good thing we all like winter ’cause it might be a long one.

I’ll leave you with a few quotes on the subject of wind.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

John Ruskin

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

William Arthur Ward

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Percy Bysshe Shelley

If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

Khalil Gibran

True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind raises it higher.

John Petit-Senn

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!

William Butler Yeats

What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?

E. M. Forster

27 thoughts on “Wind”

  1. Hey! Tess and Joe want equal coverage! Anyway, I was laughing about your Paint Your Wagon references. When I first met my wife I said something to the effect that my theme song, if one were to exist, would likely be I Was Born Under A Wandering Star. I know, right? That line was so cheesy you could dip a Frito in it. As you’ll remember, Lee Marvin sang the tune in PYW and butchered it, he well and truly did. Well, my cover version was worse but I made up in enthusiasm what I lacked in talent and to this day I will croon the tune and it always gets the Alpha Japanese Female laughing. I don’t want to talk about wind lest I get started ranting about Santa Anas.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I almost included the video of Lee Marvin singing I Was Born Under a Wandering Star, but thought, no, the post is about wind, not Paint Your Wagon. Lee Marvin was always one of my favorite actors. Unlike you, I didn’t think he butchered the song; instead, I was delighted they used his real voice rather than a voice-over because it totally fit his character! No one could do grumpy/drunk old man like Lee Marvin!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is very windy here in the San Luis Valley. We just had a wind storm that has knocked out power poles and left whole big rural areas without power. It was even crazier along Interstate 25 where the wind hit 100 mph. Very serious wind. In California, the Santa Anas would rush down my street in “waves” sometimes 70 mph, lifting roofs and doing all kinds of damage.

    We three don’t mind the ordinary wind (20/30 mph gusts) that much. In summer it keeps the bugs off and in other seasons it is just what it is. Sometimes walking against it is very slow and I call it walking uphill (there are no hills where we walk…) Spring is usually the windiest as if the fecund seasons have to completely eliminate every shred of winter. (Misplaced values)

    Finn is the best. He pees just exactly like Teddy does. Conall looks a little doubtful, but I love the moment when he sticks his nose into the wind to take a reading on the day. I have not mentioned the s-n-o-w to you know who. She’s a dog, anyway, and though the word would mean something, not much else would. 🙂 I use a little white noise machine to help me sleep through the tempests. It kind of evens things out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I saw on the news and in your FB photos just how hammered your valley was by those winds. Yikes! I admit, so far, despite the frequently strong winds with gusts in the 30-50 mph range, I don’t think I have to worry about 100 mph which is reassuring. And so far, no power outages, so there’s that bonus.

      Hmm. A white noise machine might be a good option for me. I don’t like ear plugs; they’re uncomfortable, but mostly, I don’t like the idea I won’t hear something I really should hear. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I could relate to your feelings in this post, both about the wind and about feeling lonely in the new home. It seems you’re doing a good job of embracing the way things are instead of fighting it. I remember about five years ago when I moved to a small town in the farm country of northwest Ohio and had to adapt to the sounds of trains blowing their horns in the middle of the night. It kept me awake so much for the first few weeks and I hated it, but there came a day when I realized I had adjusted to the sound and it was just background noise that I didn’t really mind anymore.

    I hope you’ll be sleeping through the wind in no time. Wishing you a cozy and happy holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny, isn’t it, what sounds bother or alarm us until we become accustomed to them? Train horns would be a challenge, though! When I lived in the suburbs, the one noise I never could sleep through was people yelling/fighting in nearby condos or on the street. It didn’t happen often, but boy did I bolt awake with a racing heart, worried someone would be hurt, wondering whether I should call the cops. I’ll take wind noise over that drama anytime. And just like you and your train horns, I’m sure that soon I’ll sleep right through the strong winds rattling my windows.

      Happy holidays to you as well, Kim!

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  4. I hope you have an alternate escape from your house. Seems like you may wind up getting walled in by drifting snow. I’m no fan of wind. It’s always somewhat windy here and it makes for tricky bike riding at times and plays not too small a part in my interest in mountain biking over road biking. It’s interesting for me to see the winter weather there. We’re in a long slow autumn with brief overnight freezes and then temps during the day in the 40s – 60s. I suspect you’ll see whiteout conditions fairly often over the winter. —- I know it can be lonely, but there’s also (to me) a really neat vibe about having the neighbors move away for the winter leaving me ll lone nd home bound. Not sure I’d love it, but I’d certainly appreciate if for what it is. Hope you have a happy christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – three doors, each on a different side of the house!

      I totally agree about running or biking in a strong wind. It’s great when it’s a tailwind, but it’s never a tailwind the entire route. And in winter, headwind vs tailwind can mean a wide range of body temperature, necessitating adding or removing gloves and layers. In Idaho it was almost always calm in the morning so I never really had to worry about running in the wind. Here? So far I’m not detecting a pattern.

      I rather like the sense of aloneness I have here now, most of the neighbors gone. It’s blissfully quiet. But I miss them, too. I also miss the knowledge that they were there if something went wrong (like my car battery dying the day the last of the neighbors was setting out for parts south and was able to give me a jump start). It’s a safety net I had in Idaho that, at least this winter, I don’t have yet in Vermont.

      Happy holidays to you and yours, Jeff! I bet you’re loving having Sophie home for a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I looked into that. For now, though, I’ve got a new battery, and opted for a portable charger (which is what the neighbor who rescued me had), something I didn’t even know existed but am now a huge fan of because you can always have it with you, wherever you and your vehicle might be.

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  5. Welcome to my world. We live across the road from an organic vegetable farm… read wide open fields… and a horse farm next door… read more open fields. Our back lawn is a large open area and living here sometimes feels like downtown Chicago. We have a veritable wind tunnel between the house and garage and life can get interesting during storms. No fragile flowers will survive the barrage and seasonal decorations need to be secured with wire. Outdoor furniture regularly flies off the porch. As for sleeping, I use foam earplugs on the worst nights. You do learn to live it, but it can be challenging.
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess wind is one thing I didn’t think much about before deciding where to live in Vermont! Just one more aspect of living here that will take some getting used to but isn’t a negative. Honestly, when I weigh all the good things I stumbled upon here with this house – the great neighbors and all the land I get to use as if it were mine – against the wind, it’s a minor annoyance. I’ll learn to sleep through it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Those are some major league winds, and I can see that if you ain’t used to it, could be a long night. Which . . you made the most of, I think. Wind is the bane of my running existence. Gimme rain, snow (anything but ice) and I’ll run through it. But wind, it’s exhausting when you’re slicing right through it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, running into the wind, or even a crosswind, sucks. Tailwind? I can handle that. But ice takes the cake. A few days ago, running with Conall, I didn’t see a patch of ice on the otherwise snow-free dirt/sand road and was down in a flash, hip, shoulder and finally my head hitting hard. Only my pride was seriously damaged, but man, I hate ice, especially sneaky ice! And it’s far more prevalent here than in Idaho, so I’m learning (the hard-headed way).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The tailwind is a temporary fix for me since my running routes all go loopy. So yeah, little to no wind is better. Ice? Nope. I’ll sit out a day and use my exercise bike instead.

        The sneaky ice SUCKS! I’ve had it happen to me as well, cursing myself after for having thrown caution to the wind (pun intended).

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great story Becca. And much truth in the emotions evoked by wind. Whether fierce or gentle, wind and weather pulls out the feelings in us, much like music does. Clearly it was quite fierce as even the doggies were tentative about stepping outside. What cuties. I also love how you tie your stories together and I always learn something new. This time about Maria. I’ll always read it as Mariah from now on. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Shelley!

      Experiencing – and reacting to – weather is one of those elemental human emotions. I mean, when making small talk with others, don’t we always default to weather?

      Discovering the song name and lyrics spell the name Maria, rather than Mariah, was a shock to me! And now you’ll be reading Maria (and pronouncing it in your head) differently! Oh, the things the internet does to us!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the slow commitment to getting into that snow! 🤣

    I just can’t with the wind. I love rain and even snow and bright, hot sunny days, but the wind is my nemesis. Where I came from, in Salinas, it was always breezy. Hated it. I expect it to change, as all optimists do. I adjust my sails and head to the cover of my four walls.

    But I must admit, reading your thoughts, that I felt guilty for feeling like I do. My motto, “Delight in life,” takes a back seat to the wind and your challenge to embrace it turns my heart. I suppose, if I am to be a consistent Tom, I must. I will work on my own wild sensibilities.

    “Paint Your Wagon.” So classic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? And it’s the non-northern-breed dog who takes the leap first! In Conall’s defense, he couldn’t see the stairs, and he doesn’t like them even when he can see them.

      Wind is…harsh. In my late teens, when I was briefly married, I lived in a very windy town. All the trees were bent. I HATED it. I was never so happy to leave the marriage and that town!

      Over time I’ve come to enjoy a good wind storm. It’s rather exhilarating. But not too often, mind you. And that’s the trick; finding a place that has just the occasional harsh wind storm. From July, when I moved here, through most of November, wind wasn’t an issue, didn’t even register on my weather radar. December has been louder, the wind hard to ignore. We’ll see what the rest of winter brings. I’m told May is biting black fly season. I might be begging for wind then. I’ve vowed to myself to withhold judgment for at least a year.

      I like your “Delight in life” motto. I’ll mutter that to myself the next time the boys and I are walking with a lean through a bracing wind, fighting the wind chill and sideways-blowing snow…:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m hoping the windy conditions will pass as the seasons change, Becky. We have had a windier than usual fall here and maybe yours is not typical either. I LOVE the “Maria” song! I too assumed it was spelled “Mariah.” Thanks for the history of that song. One more thing – when I wear my wired noise-canceling headphones, they often knock me out like a light. Just one more suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How ironic that you had a story about the song. I have an infusion nurse that I work with on many occasions and I sing the song “They call the wind Maria(h)” to remind me of her name before I arrive. I too have fear of strong wind. I envision trees snapping and falling on the house. It makes me very anxious as it does you. Loved Harve Presnel singing. Gosh he was GORGEOUS. Thanks for posting that treat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The song is a bit of an ear worm, isn’t it? After I wrote that post, that line “They call the wind Maria” was running on constant replay in my head!

      And yeah. I think I had to reach age 65 before I truly appreciated just how gorgeous Harve Presnel was 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Shelle; hope you’re doing well (i.e., as well as can be hoped for under present health circs) as the new year starts!

      Like

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