I attended an offsite luncheon presentation this afternoon. The speaker was from Tucson, Arizona, and this was his first visit to Rapid City.
The first thing he said to the audience: “What is up with the wind around here?!”
Apparently, it rattled his hotel room windows all night long. So much so, that he got up at 3 a.m. and turned on the A/C, hoping the white noise would drown it out. Even though the temperature was in the mid-30s.
He’s not wrong. The Northern Plains are notoriously windy already…and exceptionally so this week. We’ve had 60-70 mph gusts ever since Monday. For reference, a storm is classified as a hurricane when winds reach 74 mph. Try walking around in that shit for days on end.
And sometimes, it keeps us up at night, too. Sleep proves elusive when it’s howling nonstop, shrieking through the eaves and shaking the walls.
Because our neighborhood is located on a slope of the Dakota Hogback Ridge — Doris’ daughter calls it a “draw,” a terrain feature formed by two parallel ridges or spurs with low ground in between — whenever the wind ramps up, it creates a persistent dull roar. Kinda like the steady drone you experience when flying on an airplane. It’s very noticeable when we’re sitting in the living room, even with the TV on, but it sort of blends into the background after awhile. Much like white noise.
That draw also amplifies thunder. Scared us out of our wits when we first moved in three years ago. Thunder bounces off the hills and the shockwaves sweep through the neighborhood, echoing like a bomb went off and shaking the whole house when the storm is right overhead.
I love weather…as long as it serves a purpose. Blizzards and thunderstorms, though potentially dangerous, at least bring moisture. What good is wind, unless you’re a professional kite flyer? It just messes up your hair, drives up pollen counts, and increases the risk of wildfires.
Seeing that I live in the sixth-windiest state in the U.S., guess I’d better just suck it up.
Speaking of weather, there’s a lot of chatter about a potential snowstorm next week. According to whichever model you believe, we might get anywhere from 2” to 20”.
I should clarify: not this kind of model.
Obviously, that one’s the most aggressive. The storm could shift track and bring us just a little snow. Or rain only. Worst case scenario? No precipitation; just the godforsaken wind. We’ve been in a drought for a couple of years and desperately need something to fall from the sky.
Preferably from a cloud and not a bird’s ass.
I did mention not long ago that March and April are our snowiest months, so it certainly wouldn’t be unusual. It’s snowed in April every year we’ve lived here (including an inch yesterday).
Ominous forecast aside, it is spring. I know this because I went hiking on Sunday and the pasqueflowers were in full bloom.
These are South Dakota’s official state flower and a sure sign of spring. Also called prairie crocus, Easter flower, and meadow anemone, these guys usually bloom right around April 1 and last about a month. They’re hardy and not bothered by snow.
I’m so enamored by these beauties, I make an annual trek every spring to seek them out. And sometimes wax poetically over them. Like that time, two years ago, when COVID-19 had shut down the world a week earlier and all seemed hopeless. I wrote an ode to the pasqueflower then that was like nothing I’d ever written before. It made my mom take notice, as evidenced by our blog exchange.
Mark: This is my attempt at breaking free from my comfort zone and trying a more artistic post. I took the second-person narrative form, addressing myself as if I were a dispassionate observer, in order to take a non-biased look at my own thoughts and motivations. I also (attempted to) combined various forms of poetry into the writing, and played around with the format to make it more interesting. Overall, the message is intended to be one of hope. You like?
They do say geniuses are often misunderstood.