This is, of course, the opening line to Alfred Noyes (1880-1958) poem, The Highwayman. The wind described as a “torrent” probably has less of a sense of reality to urban dwellers than it does to people living at the end of the power distribution network.
I’ve lived much of my life in tornado-prone regions of the U.S. I’m familiar with down drafts, microbursts, gust fronts, and tornadoes. Gloria and I spent 14 years on the Gulf Coast of Florida and became familiar with lesser hurricanes. In those 14 years, we suffered only two short hurricane-caused power outages and only suffered property damage one year, when two storms hit us from opposite directions.
I’ve written several times about the down valley wind patterns we experience here. The next four days and nights are forecast to be windy.
We woke up this morning to the sound of the Boothbay harbor and Camden Reach buoys ringing. These are large wind chimes that hang on the front side of the house and require a good push to start their ringing. Listening underneath that the sound of the wind rushing down valley was drowning out the sound of the creek rushing down valley.
When I took Loki along to pick up the newspaper the wind was fast enough to moan through the utility lines.
In the past, I’ve catalogued wind and water patterns mostly from a point of interest in the phenomena. Since 27 April this year, the wind is no longer just an interesting thing to write about. I’ve played and sang many songs with lyrics referring to wind and storms over the years. Living away from the hurricane paths and from the primary tornadic region of the country has allowed me to forget that the wind is never just an interesting physical factor in the day’s series of events.
The wind is a torrent, a river of air that has immense power hidden in its transparency. Its moans and screams are not to be ignored or diminished by complacent familiarity. Send it pouring through the trees and listen for the conquest of wood by wind. On days such as today, we are reminded once again how far from the main transmission lines and from phone and internet access we are. I have a fire ready to light in the stove and we’ll listen for the wail to become a bellow as a cold front moves eastward across the Appalachians bringing wind through the notches and cold rains. The gales of November are knocking at the door.