2.11.2013

Blessed With Wind

I grew up in the Panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma.  That is an area of the country unlike anywhere else.  One of the markers of the Panhandle area is the wind.  It blows nearly every day in the Panhandle.  Winds of 50 to 90 miles an hours are not unusual in that area.  It is just part of living there.
I remember longing for days without the wind when there had been many days straight of 50 mph+ winds.
  Once I was part of the Amarillo Relays.  They called the golf tournament off because the balls would not stay on the tees but we still had to play tennis.(Who makes these decisions?)  Have you ever played tennis when the wind is blowing 70 mph?  On top of that it was very cold that day. I have to confess that I gave that game away (I sure hope my coach doesn't read this) I am not really a quitter but it was the easiest and quickest way to warmth that day. Tennis just wasn't worth it that day.  I guess that is why I didn't make it to the pros among other reasons. LOL.
There are two different sets of grain elevators located on highway 15 in the Texas Panhandle.  Locals know a secret about those elevators.  When the wind is blowing from the North then it is wise to make sure you have a very good grip on the steering wheel of your car because you are about to be whipped around.  Many wrecks occur there because outsiders have no idea what is about to hit them.
Lawn furniture is another subject that takes special care in the Panhandle.  If you want to keep it then you need to make sure it is staked down to the ground.  You may be thinking that I am joking right now but I assure you it is a serious matter in the Panhandle area.
The trampolines that are so popular in family back yards are another item that might go sailing off into the neighbors yard if not properly tended to with deep stakes or better yet put into a hole in the ground.  Most families just don't bother to purchase them at all.
Large trucks are in danger on really windy days in these parts.  One year our Girl Scout cookie truck didn't arrive because it had been blown over and off the road.
It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I saw the snow actually fall.  We were at church and I stood transfixed as I watched the snow fall outside the doors of the church. What a strange sight it was to my eyes. In the Panhandle area it blows sideways!
It isn't unusual to have white out conditions in the Panhandle when it snows.  It is really wise to be at home any time the snow comes in the Panhandle because you just never know with the wind.  The wind causes the frozen electric lines to snap in two and then no electricity till it is fixed.  Imagine how that poor electric crew feels out in that weather.
The highways can blow closed in a matter of moments.  Our highway crews in that area work 24/7 when it snows.  It can become quite dangerous to be out on the highway when it snows even if it is only a couple of inches.
I remember many times seeing drifts that were larger than the houses.  The highway would have only 1 lane open (when it was open) and it was like going through a tunnel of snow without the roof.  All because of the wind.
 I remember how the blowing snow could hypnotize you as you drove in it.  It would become hard to not watch the flakes of snow blowing at your windshield rather than the road.  Watching them too long could land you in the ditch.
 Sometimes we would have terrible dirt storms.  I remember one that lasted 2 weeks.  We were cleaning up piles of dirt from inside our house.  There was just no way to keep it out because the wind was blowing so hard.  Have you ever heard of sandblasting?  Imagine that for 2 weeks.
Gardening in the Panhandle is not for the faint of heart.  That wind can zap your plants and soil of moisture faster than you can water them.  That is why there are only trees along water ways or places where they are watered by people in the Panhandle.
Flower pots need to be watered at least a couple of times a day and some days more than that. I lost many many plants to the wind in the Panhandle.
And forget about growing any white flowers in the Panhandle.  The wind bruises them so badly that it just isn't worth it.  It is sounding like a really grim thing to live where there is so much wind doesn't it? The funny thing is that the wind is one of the Panhandle's greatest assets.
It is because of the wind that the Panhandle was able to be settled.  The wind provided the much needed water.
It is amazing how cool the evenings are in even the hottest of summers and that is because of the wind.
On the hottest of days in the Panhandle it is still cooler than other places at the same temperature because of the wind.  Have you ever turned a fan on when it was hot.  It has the same effect in the Panhandle.
Now the world has figured out how to make electricity with the wind.  Big white windmills are going up everywhere in the world.  Imagine the possibilities in the Panhandle. Imagine pump jacks powered by the wind (I don't know if they exist but they should)  There are 1000's of pump jacks in that area pumping oil and gas out to the entire nation.  Lower cost of running them equals lower cost at the gas pump for us (if the oil companies will be fair that is.)
The lesson here is to pay attention to the things that seem like a curse because you may just be missing one of your largest blessings.  The enemy loves to take our attention from the blessings in our life and cause us to see it as a curse instead.  The good news is that by doing that he shows us his hole card(if we were playing poker).  he (not capitalized because he doesn't deserve that honor) is only going to hide something like that if he is trying to keep us away from something God intends us to have.  I will say it again..."pay attention to the things that seem like a curse because you may just be missing one of your largest blessings!"
Until Next Time
Debbie
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2 comments:

Karla Paske said...

Debbie, I have read that during the pioneer days and settlement of the plains that the homesteaders wives would go insane from the constant blowing of the wind. you know,the sound,the dirt always in everything and so on.

Debra Howard said...

I bet that is so...I can remember how the wind would scream some nights and days that seemed to go on forever at times. I am hoping we don't have a return to those kind of days this spring with the ground so very dry.