29 April 2010

The Howl of the Wind

The howling sounds of the darkness have given way to the light of a new day rising up, and I am happy to say that we are still here. There is nothing that quite compares to living in a high valley in terms of the weather. We live in the southern part of the Mojave Desert, so you would expect it to be warm and dry. But living in between two mountain peaks brings quite a bit you would not expect.

For one thing it is totally awesome to see snow on the mountain tops to either side, and yet have none on the ground where you are. It is quite an adventure to go to the store at those times since the stores are over the mountain in either direction. Nothing like leaving your house at 50F/10C only to drive up the mountain and into the snow! After being careful on the slick freshly fallen snow going over the pass, we head down the other side of the mountain and back into 50F/10C weather.

Another unexpected weather pattern is the rain. We get a tremendous amount of rain. We live in the middle of a very dry desert, and yet we seem to get rain at least once a week and often times for more then one day at a time. A bit strange for the average number of days of sunlight for the state of Arizona being over 300. Of course I have also never seen anything like the way a storm can roll in one hour and be rained out or blown out the next hour.. amazing!

The one thing about living between two mountain tops that I may never get used to is the wind. There appears to be a constant wind, but when it kicks up, the valley acts like a funnel for it. The wind seems to be funneled in along the mountain walls, and it feels like the entire valley becomes a wind tunnel. You can sit and watch the trees bending low as if to kiss the earth. You hear the wind find every crack in your house and whistle its' way in. Open the window about half an inch and you can recreate the sound of an old freight train whistle. If you ever hear that haunting whistle at night, when everything is dark, it is enough to make you think of a lonely train streaming across a deserted space, just crying its' loneliness out to the world. The sound cuts straight through you.

That is the wind we have had the last couple of days. The wind has been strong enough to just blow the cell signal away from the cell phone, strong enough to blow the phone lines right off the telephone poles.. Just last night it kicked up even stronger and created such a ruckus of vents flapping howling noises that it sounded like wild animals desperate to get in. Those are the nights when we double check the locks on the doors, fasten the locks on the windows, and curl up under blankets hoping the electricity stays on.

And now as the light of day is slowly growing stronger, the wind's howling doesn't seem quite as scary. But the wind carries in it a chill that cuts straight through to the bone.. makes me wonder how the tops of the mountains fared overnight. Now as I glance out my window, and see that all of our outdoor toys are still securely tucked in around the house, I give thanks for making it through the night. I am grateful to still be here with all of my belongings still intact.

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