Naming the Wind

windmillWhen it blows from the south it fills up the bay. The waves are high. We don’t take out the boat. The tide laps our dock. We call it “that damn south wind.”

When it blows from the north it whips through the canyons shaped by the office buildings that line 17th Street creating a Venturi Effect that whips my skirt and turns my umbrella inside-out. I call it “that damn north wind”.  

After I saw Paint your Wagon, I called the wind “Maria” for a while and drove Mama just about crazy singing the song over and over.

I always worry about downdrafts. Don’t like them. I worry about them when I am taking off and landing and they are a real nuisance when I try to light a fire in a fireplace with a cold chimney.

Is there such a thing as an “updraft”?

Some of my favorite names for wind….

Cat’s Paw is a tiny wind that touches the surface of the water as gently as a kitten. I feel it on my face before I see it on the creek.

Mistral is a French wind – cold and dry like wine.  I love that word.  It is also one of my favorite typefaces.

Gale  My Uncle Bill called me Brenda “Gale” and made a whooshing sound and laughed whenever I rode by on my bike. I wished my middle name hadn’t been spelled “Gail”.

Chinook  is  a western wind, of course, and I’m an eastern girl. It’s a word I only think of when I am in British Columbia. I like the word. I also like “Squamish”.

When I am in California I call the wind “Santa Ana”.

Squall reminds me of my grandmother. “Be careful Brenda Gail…looks like there’s a squall coming up.”

Sometimes I wish were the wind transparent and invisible. Just passing through.

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