Blowin’ In the Wind
How about those winds, eh? They seemed to come out of nowhere, and before we knew it the flower pots, both empty and full, were dancing all over the yard. The wind chimes were singing a song I’d never heard before but it didn’t sound like “Silver Bells.” It sounded an awful lot like that sequence in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” when Charles Laughton as Quasimodo jumps on top of all the enormous bells in the steeple, and bongs his little brains out while causing poor Esmeralda to almost go stone deaf.
All the trees were dancing in time to the music of the Quasimodo wind chimes, including the huge, old pine near the kitchen window. If that tree ever fell into the house while we were inside, my wife and I would both be looking like Quasimodo on a bad hair day. Just a bit of gusty wind though. Nothing to worry about, right? Sure. That’s what they told Dorothy just before her house was ripped off its foundations, and swept her away to another stratosphere – yes, and her little dog, too.
These weren’t the notorious California Santa Ana winds (or Sauna Ana as I call them because of their hot sauna-like temperature). These winds were a bit on the cold side and were behaving very mischievously. These were bad boy winds. My wife ran outside, Don Quixote fashion, in a brave attempt to do battle face-to-face with these blustery currents. She scurried about securing her plants, rearranging her flower pots and battening down her hatches. I watched from the window where it was safe and warm. Now and then she’d look over to me as she ran around, and I’d flash her a friendly smile and wave. Flower pots and wind chimes are women’s work. Besides, I was busy checking out what movies TCM would be showing that night – clearly men’s work.
“What is it with this place?” my wife asked, to no one in particular. “We don’t get gentle breezes, we get gale force winds. We don’t get nice little rain showers, we get deluges that bring down hillsides and flood the valleys.” I didn’t answer her; her questions required no response from me. It was just Jane missing the East Coast again. Ah, yes, the good old days of blizzards, bone-chilling winters and frozen pipes, black ice on the highways, hurricanes and summers with temperatures that can range from 98 degrees during the day to 96 degrees at night.
I watched from my window as the sun slowly went down; the winds left, then the winds came back. Then the winds left. Then the winds came back. Fickle winds, these. Here one minute, gone the next. This went on all the rest of the day and into the evening. At one point, we heard what sounded like an electrical power surge from one of the tall electrical transformers outside near the house. We braced ourselves for a power outage, but thankfully it never happened. “Light a candle,” my wife said. I wondered if she was going to say a prayer of thanks or something but then I realized she wanted it lit in case the lights went out.
Although the night grew cold I opted not to light a nice cozy fire in the fireplace in the den – I’d been there and done that before. A romantic, cozy fireplace fire on a windy day is not the best idea, unless, of course, your idea of romantic and cozy entails watching a back draft of smoke blow down your chimney and all through your house.
Eventually the winds, as it must come to all of us, died. They left almost as quickly as they came, and I must say they did very little damage to anything. Fortunately, we never lost any electrical power, no trees fell, no roofs came off and we didn’t wind up in the merry old Land of Oz. My wife’s potted plants took the major brunt of the storm, with a bent stem here and there, a loss of some potting soil and a couple of flower buds. I would say we got off “Scot free,” as they might put it in the old Western movies, but you’d better ask my wife; she may have another opinion. In any case, on the scale of all-time natural disasters, I’d say we weathered this one rather nicely. And I did it all from the safety of my own little window.