Spring Winds

by Pari

It’s spring in New Mexico. For some parts of my large state, that means mercurial shifts in temperature with low 80s one day and upper 40s the next. For the southern part of the state, it’s a breath of beauty before scorching summer sucks what little rain might have fallen back into the air before it ever hits the earth.

However, there’s one thing that spring means for everyone and everything in NM:  hellatious winds. We’re talking all the levels of Dante’s hells combined into one. Daily gusts from 60 or 75 mph. Winds that strip fruit trees of their fragile whites and pinks. Blizzards of petals slapping sand-blasted faces and swirling into banks at sidewalk curbs. Highways closed due to zero visibility. Soil transformed into angry clouds of murky brown.

I can’t sleep this time of year. Winds roar at night. It’s not the weird banging of branches against my bedroom walls, it’s the unsettledness of the world that gets to me . . . The lifting up of things better left on the ground, the battering of new plants just trying to set in before the ravages of drought-ridden summers . . . It’s the horrid knowing that someone’s smoldering cigarette butt, carelessly cast out of a car window, will destroy mountainside forests that took centuries to grow.

This year, I’m thinking more about the winds than usual. They usher in a new season, presage change. When I take my long walks after work, the violent movement of air forces me to keep a stronger center so that I don’t get pushed off the sidewalk into the street. There’s powerful symbolism in that for me. So much of my life is changing drastically: A long marriage facing its end, shifts in culture and responsibilities at work, the end of posting on a blog I’ve loved and nurtured for seven years.

And yet I feel much less adrift in the middle of all this flux than I ever have before. With my knees bent and my body lowered against the gusts, I’m building in a certain — new — ability to sway rather than break.

I don’t like when people tell me that with one shut door, others open. But in typical contradictory style, I also do feel the optimism intrinsic in movement, the blessed knowledge that the only constant is, indeed, change. I’m sad with the end of my marriage, of Murderati as we know it, of what I thought I knew about myself on some levels. Yet I look bright-eyed to the future, to possibilities in these most windy of life days.

Questions for today:
1. What is spring like where you live?

2. Have you ever noticed a sense of internal centeredness when you would’ve expected otherwise?

(And yes, I know this is the long goodbye this month, I just had to give everyone a break with a more general post.)

19 thoughts on “Spring Winds

  1. Shizuka

    Spring is very very moody in NYC; 80 one day, very windy and wet the next.
    I loved her yesterday; today, she's being kind of bitchy.

    When my Dad died years ago, after the initial daze, I went strangely calm.
    I quit the job I didn't want, moved, and took stock of my relationships and pretty much everything else. I made decisions on instinct. And started writing again. I think I just stopped caring about stuff that wasn't important. A lot falls into that category.

    So maybe change with sadness = clarity sometimes.
    But I'm not brave enough to walk in 60 mph winds like you.

  2. JD Rhoades

    In NC, everything's turning green again. My Reading Tree (the dogwood where I've hung my hammock chair) is developing into that lovely arched green bower I love so much.

    The downsides:
    (1) the pollen is everywhere, and it gets into everything. Not only does it cover the cars and every flat surface, if you have your windows open it even sneaks through he screens. I had to brush it off my monitor this morning.
    (2) The ticks are back. My daily walks in the woods result in finding at least one on either me or the dog, usually both.

  3. Pari Noskin

    Shizuka,
    You're plenty brave. I simply may be more foolish.
    Your formula of change + sadness = clarity is so beautifully simple and, I think, very very true.

    JD,
    We're getting as green as NM can given the drought and watering restrictions . . . Your pollen problem is our dust problem. With the winds, it gets everywhere and in abundance too. We also have the pollen issue and it swirls up with the winds. Quite the mess. Quite the allergy season.

    Ticks, however, aren't a big problem where I walk and I don't think they're a major issue in the mountains around here b/c of the lack of growth. There are deer though, so I might be wrong since they're often carriers.

  4. Jake Nantz

    I have hay fever allergies, so for me Spring in NC = misery. I abhor Springtime, because I can't enjoy any of it. Cutting the grass with wraparound glasses and a full breathing mask just means I don't start sneezing until I'm finished. And yet, it's beautiful here. Just wish I could enjoy it, but it's hard to see the wonder of nature when your eyes are watering and your nose is winning a marathon.

    Ah, nature…

  5. Alaina

    After several 50 and 60-degree days, New Hampshire got snow on Friday. Well, more like a horrendous mix of hail and rain and snow that changed every 30 seconds but never really stopped, here.

    Spring in NH is where we're afraid to take off our snow tires and put away the winter coats. So far this year, I've seen temperatures of 20 and 70 degrees F… so we can actively discuss the weather without even trying to make polite conversation.

    Glad we don't get those winds, though. The best part of the season is everything growing!

  6. Larry Gasper

    Well if you want to avoid the pollen and allergies just come on up to Saskatoon. Here in western Canada spring just refuses to arrive. People were golfing this time last year, but we're lucky if the temperature gets past freezing right now. Oh well, it gives me a reason to stay inside and work on the book. (Got to stay positive or I'll go insane.)

  7. Sandy

    Here in southern Connecticut, spring pops upon us each year. One day trees and bushes are winter brown or gray; branches, bare. Having done its work on ice and snow, sand lies at the curbs, sometimes in such quantities as to rival Cape Cod's dunes. The world is old, dirty. And then the very next day, without having provided a clue of the imminence, the forsythias splash their yellow; the dogwoods, their pinks. Lawns are surprisingly trimmed in white and yellow daffodils, maybe a purple crocus for highlight. The trees take up more space with their green buds. And people emerge with shovels to clean off the roads. It is an overnight occurrence, really. Or maybe, my awakening is.
    Sandy

  8. Sarah W

    Our spring weather needs some serious mood stabilizers — we had a 70F day followed by snow the next morning. And the pollen count is obscene because the flora is completely confused — no wonder our collective sinuses are vibrating!

    We're also suffering from what my Dad calls "lazy wind" — it can't be bothered to go around you, so it blasts right through. It's actually been difficult to tell sometimes whether the alert sirens are going off downtown or the wind is just whistling through the alleys.

  9. Allison Davis

    I was noticing my bearded iris' blooming in my garden and took in lilacs and freesias that filled my great room with a wonderful heady scent. Spring also means a trip to Arizona and perhaps some early baseball (had the trip but no baseball this year), so the first kiss of warm sun signifies spring for me (sorry Larry). San Francisco doesn't have extreme weather so the change is subtle but Spring is a time of warm weather with the fog in abeyance.

    We don't have the windstorms, but I feel like I'm pushing against some forces these days. After my three month sabbatical last year, was like the taste of freedom so now trying to figure out how to achieve some balance or even get off the merry-go-round I'm on so I can find time to write. The time here and there isn't working.

    Yes, change is in the air, but we're all still here so adventures still to come.

  10. Kathryn Lilley

    Spring in Southern California is as balmy and pleasant as every other time of the year, which must annoy the heck out of other parts of the country! We should post a badge for places like Kansas, saying, "Don't hate us because we're beautiful," lol!

  11. Pari Noskin

    Oh, man, Jake . . . how awful! I'd want my money back. I love spring, but wouldn't if it afflicted me so.

    Alaina, it sounds like spring in NH is even more unpredictable than in NM. I really like snow, but wouldn't feel so happy about it in mid April.

    Larry, great attitude about working on the book. I remember in Michigan that spring was a long, long time coming. You're much further north. Does it ever arrive?

    Sandy, wonderful description. That's how spring hits here every once in awhile. I prefer the longer lead in though, more time to enjoy it.

  12. Fran

    I miss so much about New Mexico: the food, the people, my sense of who I am in that world. But I absolutely do not miss the khaki skies and the wind that was so bad one time that it shut down the power to the school where I taught, leaving us without functioning plumbing (yes, the wind was THAT bad), and the buses couldn't run because of the horrific wind, so we had over 2,000 kids stuck in a dark school with no running water and no way to evacuate. Don't miss that at all.

    Spring in the Pacific Northwest is much gentler. And wetter. And greener. It's still chilly but not cold. The colors are brighter, there are birds everywhere, and I can walk barefoot in my yard through thick emerald grass.

    And I still miss New Mexico. How weird is that?

    Spring's a time for reflection and optimism, for me. I love the sense of new beginnings and hope, but I never want to forget what got me here, y'know?

  13. Hoke Smart

    In the foothills of South Carolina, nature finally made up its mind to shake the doldrums of winter and revel in the springtime. It does seem to always coincide with the Masters, oddly enough. The pollen levels are such that if I don't take my daily regimen, I am a mess by 9:30am. Thankfully, we do not typically receive much wind battering in part because of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian blocks and in part because we are just far enough inland to not be impacted by the coast to a large degree. Unfortunately, the pleasant levels will not linger very long, diving straight into a humidity overdose by early May lasting through mid-September.

    I find that conflict which demands swift and sound resolution seems to strengthen my stances. Not that I seek out such volatile conflict, just that I feel like I am equipped to handle it when it comes. I consider myself a bit of an optimist and so I suppose I always feel destined to achieve success when faced with such trials, which bolsters me even when all signs point to defeat. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else.

  14. Pari Noskin

    Sarah,
    "Lazy wind?" really? It sounds more like passive-aggressive wind or downright hostile wind!

    Allison,
    How beautiful SF can be, and the lack of extremes must be a certain kind of blessing (though I like the change of seasons). However, the problem of finding time for that creativity and to truly nurture it? It's such a challenge, isn't it? I'm not sure it's really possible . . . sorry.

    Kathryn,
    I think you're right on that weather-envy many people feel about SoCal. But, honestly, wouldn't you like to build at least one snowman? šŸ˜‰

  15. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Spring? Let's see….I'm in Southern CA. I look out the window….wow, looks just like it did in December! And last August, too.
    I know Spring has sprung when the Jacarandas trees start blooming. The entire city turns lavender. It's my favorite time of year.

  16. Pari Noskin

    Fran,
    I know what you mean about NM getting under your skin. No matter where else I've lived, I've always craved NM . . . but walking barefoot on emerald grass? Well, that might be a nice break from these blustery days.

    As to new beginnings, yes, spring evokes those feelings in me too. It's all the sweeter because of the winter that precedes it.

    Hoke,
    I've never been to SC. It sounds beautiful — other than the humidity — and I hope to get there someday. Those mountain chains also sound wonderful. Ours is part of the reason for the winds; they course through a small canyon right into ABQ.

    Re: conflict, adversity
    I think I, too, have a lot of faith in myself to pass through these moments . . . not always with grace, but at least with fortitude and the trust that they will ultimately be all right. You make perfect sense to me.

    Stephen,
    I was once lucky enough to be in LA when the Jacaranda trees were blooming. It was just beautiful.

  17. KDJames

    JD and Jake have done a good job of describing NC in the spring. It really is beautiful, with everything blooming. Like driving through a fairytale. But yeah, the pollen makes a mess.

    Not sure it's the kind of centeredness you're talking about, Pari, but when I was going through what you are now I discovered I was stronger than I ever imagined I could be. I had to be.

    Thanks for the break from the long goodbye. It's interesting to hear where some of the commenters live, and realize I hadn't known. I hope any who live in Boston are safe and well.

  18. Pari Noskin

    KD,
    Thank you for mentioning Boston; I hope everyone we know is safe and that the city can cope with this senseless tragedy.

    NC sounds beautiful, truly a wonderland.

    And you're right about finding out about inner strength; it's an important lesson that I might not have ever known to the extent I do now.

    Finally, you're welcome. I needed a break and figured others did too. Like you, I am enjoying the conversation today and learning more about all of us.

  19. PD Martin

    I love spring. Mostly because I'm a warm weather kinda girl and so for me spring means the break of winter. Here in Melbourne the first sign of spring is the Magnolia trees. I love it when they first start to bloom. The buds are so majestic and sculptural.

    But we're in autumn (fall) here, so we're experiencing the opposite. The night time temps are starting to drop, as are the leaves. My washing is struggling to get dry outside in one day. We've switched on our heating for the first time. It's dark at 6pm.

    Boo hoo….I want spring!

    By the way, Pari. I loved this blog and particularly this line: "With my knees bent and my body lowered against the gusts, Iā€™m building in a certain — new — ability to sway rather than break." What a wonderful insight.

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