The Canada Screamer

Australia has the Brickfielder. France has the Mistral, North Africa and Southern Europe the Sirocco. Santa Ana winds blow across California while parts of Canada and the Great Plains experience the Chinook.  All these winds are weather phenomena. The winds we have here in Wisconsin may not be meteorologically important enough to be named as our snowstorms are, but having come from a place where wind doesn’t blow with the same violence, unless, of course, there is a tornado, I think Wisconsin winds must have a name. I’ve decided to make up my own for the winds this time of year, the Canada Screamer.

For the past few months but especially the past few days winter has held sway here in Wisconsin with weather systems moving across the United States picking up moisture before uniting with the cold north wind sweeping down from Canada and the Arctic, the Canada Screamer. Yesterday winter brought four more inches of snow to our area to add the nearly 60 inches we’ve already accumulated this winter. But today, a deceptively gorgeous sunny day, the wind blew. Gusts measured up to thirty miles per hour here in my town and across northeast Wisconsin and will continue into the night and tomorrow. Those gusts blew the fluffy snow into drifts in our driveway and onto our front sidewalk. The largest drift, about four or five feet tall, is still there. I think I’ll leave it for Bruce to see or take a picture tomorrow before Travis and I shovel it away.

Naturally, Bruce is gone again as he has been lately when it has snowed, which is really testing the agreement we struck before we moved up north. That agreement said if I would move north of the Mason-Dixon Line, I wouldn’t have to shovel snow or use the snow blower, and I could have all the cozy sweaters I wanted. Today, since Bruce wasn’t here, I called the guy who sprays our lawn in the summer and has a winter snowplowing business to come plow me out. Wow! Was that fast! I don’t know why Bruce insists on clearing the snow himself when Seth did the job in a matter of minutes.

I didn’t go outside today until the driveway was cleared. I couldn’t have walked to the mailbox through the three foot drifts and didn’t want to deal with the wind flinging snow in my face. Even in the house I could hear the wind and feel the draft seeping beneath the window sills and around the doors. I’m just glad I live in a nicely constructed house in modern times rather than in a tarpaper covered wooden house on the prairie during pioneer days. There are many stories of women on the Great Plains who went insane. I think losing their minds probably had something to do with the wind or the fact that spring didn’t arrive for so long. There might have been the occasional year spring made an early appearance, but I’m sure some killjoy back then said things like, “Well, this is Wisconsin. It will probably be snowing next week.” to that poor pioneer woman. The good Lord knows I’ve heard that sort of thing before.

This time of year I’m tormented by images of warm weather. I imagine trade winds softly ruffling my hair and cooling the sweat on my brow as I bask in the sun with my SPF 70 on, the salty breezes soothing my cold limbs and lulling me to sleep under my sunglasses. Heck, I don’t even mind watching The Masters golf tournament on television because at least it gives me a glimpse of a world green and bursting with multi-hued azaleas and dogwoods. Somewhere somebody is wearing shorts and getting sunburned. Shortly after that I watch the Kentucky Derby with the riots of multi-colored hats and beautiful people parading about in the spring air drinking juleps. I can’t help but wish I were there smelling the roses at Churchill Downs. The closest I can get are the images I occasionally post on Facebook of places I wish I could escape to.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain much. Spring does last about two weeks here, but it is a glorious two weeks. You can practically see the plants grow and the new spring leaves unfurl on the trees. The scent of lilacs fills the air and here, at least, the Clearwater Harbor Restaurant and Bar (otherwise known as The Harbor) finally opens her doors for the season. That’s a sure sign summer is on its way. Summer, in my humble opinion, is the ONLY reason to live in Wisconsin, weather-wise. The days are long with sunrise at about five and sunset at about ten, give or take. Plants have a lot of growing to do in a short amount of time, so gardens explode with color and plants. You can practically see them reaching for the sun. And we have rivers galore and our Chain O’Lakes, a wonderful oasis of spring-fed blue green waters. Lovely.

I can hear the Canada Screamer barreling against my house as I write this. It actually pulled me from my reverie of summer, but soon my reverie will be reality. Soon I will wake to the chirp of birds and fall asleep to the song of peepers. Soon the gentle breezes of summer will fill my house with the scent of roses and honeysuckle, and I’ll hear the river in my back yard sing me a lullaby. It will be soon now. After all, tomorrow is another day. It’s actually the first day of spring, but winter and that Canada Screamer didn’t get the memo!

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