Sometimes I question my sanity. Last week at Wild Basin, I arrived to winds that almost took the car door off when I opened it. Yet the snow was new, powdery; my skis were in the back of the car; how could I resist? Skiing up the trail, the snow indeed was soft, providing a smooth glide--but only where the wind couldn’t reach the ground, where the trees offered some protection from its buffeting.
In the woods, the snow was several feet deep, more where the wind had piled it up into snow waves. But where the landscape was open, the wind had scoured the trail down to the gravel and rock. As the wind gathered its power the noise was like the sound of a jet plane taking off, and when it paused the silence was deafening.
Pushed by forces beyond their control, the pine trees shook and danced, their tops swaying in abandon. I kept hearing bits of conversation and moaning, as the pine branches rubbed against each other in slightly salacious ways. It felt like the wind was pummeling the earth for some unknown transgression: take that and take that. Ready for more?
Coming back down the trail, I got a free ride from the wind. Back at the car, changing out of my ski shoes, I put down my glove to untie my shoelaces, and the wind grabbed it, sent it spinning down the road. At the same time, it pulled a sock out of my boot and sent it off into the woods, while the skis propped against the car crashed down. I went running after the glove, but every time I got close the wind picked it up and sent it scurrying. I found my sock in a snowbank.
All night long, the cabin creaked and groaned in the wind, and I could hear things—branches?— being thrown at the roof. The next morning, it was total silence, as the snow finally delivered by the wind was released, falling deliberately, softly, with no rush. When I went out for a walk, the silence was profound, as if I could melt into it.