Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blowin' in the Wind

In Osceola, my colorful windsocks and collection of wind chimes hung on the porch primarily as decoration, sometimes fluttering a bit or ringing a note or two, but rarely whipping about with wild abandon as they are doing this morning on the porch at The Hideaway. The famous/infamous Gorge Winds are blowing with fierce intensity.

Inside I am warm and cozy and the house is tight. Unlike my 95-year old place in the heartland, there are no cracks to admit the weather. The trees make wild shadows on the blinds and bushes rub against the foundation making strange noises that puzzle the dogs.

Usually June is the favored month for wind in the Gorge. The sun bakes the lands east of the Cascades, causing the air to rise. Cool air from the west side then rushes up the river, whipping through Hood River with near gale force at times. These winds, blowing against the downriver flow of water, create a recreational weather phenomenon as popular as the snow in the Cascades. Wind has turned Hood River, once an ailing lumber town, into the Aspen of windsurfing. “Pray for Wind Parties” and “Windfest” events, usually in June when things start to pick up in the rush of currents through the Gorge, bring tourists and wind sport aficionados from all over.

November is not wind season, but we all know the cycle of nature is being changed by global warming and human interference. So the winds are blowing today and if you have a wet suit and a stout heart you could go windsurfing on the Columbia River. Later I will go out and see if there is any activity nearby.

This is the day to drive a big heavy sturdy clunky SUV if you are venturing forth. VW buses stay home as staying on the road might be a challenge. And a hat that ties under the chin is also a plus. Zip up the coat, don’t carry loose papers, and, by all means, don’t spit.


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