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The winds of Bickleton

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The winds have been blowing through Bickleton for days. It is pretty normal here—wind. Even though March neither came in like a lion, nor left like a lamb, March was pretty cold and had a lot of rain in it. This story begins in April.

Last week we had a couple days of unusually strong winds, with gusts of 60 miles an hour and more. Walking on the high prairie was dangerous; you could feel its power as it blew down fences, created whirlwinds and trashcan races, even lifted the roof off a barn—what a sight! Tumbleweeds ran 100-yard dashes at record speeds, disintegrating along the way! The animals all collected behind whatever shelter was available, ravens hung stationery in the air for what seemed like minutes, while the wind whistled in the leafless trees below.

It was early April and the wind—some call it Mariah—was pushing winter off the land, scouring every nook and cranny, kicking up twisters back of the tool shed and between the tractors, even scrubbing under the grain bins. Mariah was everywhere, sweeping the land clean, making it fresh and new for the arrival of spring. At night, the howling winds seemed even louder and gave competition to the songs of coyotes and hoots of night owl. Badgers burrowed down deeper.

Then on Tuesday, it was as if Mariah was exhausted by all the howling and needed a rest. The air was calm, perhaps expectant? Once in a while a sudden blast would race across the pastures, swirling the grasses to the delight of the horses, then the air would return to its stillness. I could see more winds in the forecast, so I took this opportunity to look over the land during the lull. There were drifts of grass and straw, buckets pushed into the most unlikely places. In general, everything had been disturbed and not put back properly. What I saw looked less like a working farm and more like a child’s room after a wild sleepover with no mom or dad.

Wednesday was cloudy with occasional light breezes. Something happened while we slept that night. The wind kicked up and changed direction. I noticed in the morning it was strong yet somehow quieter. The sunrise display was spectacular, as it often is here on the high plateau. As I watched the change from spectacle to dawn and the sun broke the horizon, the wind continued strong and purposeful. Mariah rocked my RV and howled in barn rafters, yet was somehow gentler. I got the sense this wind was bringing in spring. Indeed, was that a new song from the meadowlark? Rather than making a big racket with huge noisy gusts, this wind was steady, with moments of strong emphasis, as when music goes from forte to fortissimo.

The wind bringing spring continued for two days and nights. Each day more life could be seen in the pastures, more green on the land, more birds in pairs. I expect we’ll hear beep beep beeps from within the trees in the coming weeks.

This evening, Mariah is again relaxing. It’s been a lot of work to push out Ol’ Man Winter this year. And apparently young Lady Spring was something of a challenge herself—getting her to settle in and get on with the tasks of Spring. I know it will all work out divinely. We’ll look around in a week and see green on the tips of most everything. Looks like another successful birth for Mother Earth. Take a look. Spring has sprung!

And in time, the warm winds of summer will come to the high prairie. For now, its been a real treat to watch Mariah blow out winter and bring in spring! Thank you!