posted by coyote
Know first that I detest wind.
But yesterday's sodden nearspring snowstorm in Ottawa reminds me that I still miss Alberta's Chinook. Another name, Snow Eater, is disputed, but it's apt. A Chinook shrieking from its characteristic arched mouth of clouds on the western horizon devours snow. Somewhere into a third week of unrelenting hundred-kilometre winds, when your eyes fill with dry grit, you feel as if it gnaws your brain, too.
But I remember standing one year in a late January field, after weeks of singing, minus-thirty cold, feeling my lungs crack with each breath, when the crystallized air changed. The arch opened over the mountains, iciness suddenly softened.
I stood still, in stillness, feeling warmth begin to breathe around me for three-quarters of an hour. The temperature rose a degree a minute. The last moments, I could hear water starting to run under the snow. When the banshee wind finally pounced, the air temperature was well above zero.
I detest wind. But that dead of winter memory — less than an hour of moistening, warming, impossibly tropical stillness, is magic I hold close.