The dominant feature of the weather this week in our area has been the wind. Whether blowing from the north, south, east, or west, the gusts have been quite forceful, knocking down tree branches and blowing debris across large areas. Combined with the colder temperatures, the week has been quite the challenge physically and mentally for many. Though I did not miss any running or biking along my routes, there were a few days I questioned my sanity for trying to brave the elements.
Inspired by the Light
One aspect of nature that has been most beneficial in my quest to survive the elements is the extended daylight in the evening hours. While the sunrise moved back an hour to 7:33 AM, sunset is now at 7:27 PM. Being able to ride my bike before sunset without having to use head or tail lamps has made for some enjoyable rides despite the cold wind blowing past me.
Next week, the spring equinox (also known as the vernal equinox) on March 20 will allow for approximately twelve full hours of daylight. This occurs due to the position of the earth as it orbits the sun. The earth’s northern hemisphere will start to tilt more toward the sun, resulting in more daylight. Just before this tilt starts, the equinox (Latin for equal night) will occur, marking the start of the spring season.
Interestingly, the weather does not always correspond to the celestial seasons. However, evidence of the added daylight still exists. So, we may still see snow and ice in the early days of spring, just as we have this past week.
Ice Type Hype
The winds brought a number of snow flurries this week, along with ice pellets and other forms of precipitation. The winds cooled any water on the surface of the ground rather quickly, creating patches of crystals or ice. Typically, the oxygen atoms of ice water molecules arrange themselves in a hexagonal shape. This type of ice is called ice-I. Adding pressure to ice-I changes the arrangement
of the atoms into a rhombohedral structure. This is called ice-II.
There are a total of seven different ice types numbered from I to VII. An article in the newspaper this week reported that scientists have found ice-VII inside diamonds. Prior to the discovery, this type of ice was not known to exist on earth, but was thought to exist in the solar system.
Reading the article, it struck me that science and humans always have a way to categorize what we discover. It is this categorization that allows us to process information in smaller pieces, leading to knowledge and discovery.
Like the types of ice, wind can be categorized using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale. The categories range from 1 to 5 and are based on sustained wind speed.
- Category 1 74-95 mph
- Category 2 96-110 mph
- Category 3 111-129 mph
- Category 4 130-156 mph
- Category 5 157 mph or higher
While the winds this week were far weaker than any of these categories, their strength was indeed felt in nature and evident to anyone attempting to work or do activities outdoors.
It’s Only the Wind
As the dogs and I tried our best to go about our normal routines despite the wind blowing in our faces, the lyrics to a song made popular by Billy Dean came into my mind:
I remember as a child on a dark stormy night
I heard the screen door slam and I was overcome with fright
So afraid that someone bad was trying to get in
And momma came to comfort me and said
“It’s only the wind, and nothing more
Not the end of the world knocking at the door
So close your eyes and dream again
Believe me, It’s only the wind”
Every time I’ve had to face a bitter storm of life
Those words of comfort were my shelter in the night…
Contemplating those words left me wondering about the many storms we all face in life. So many times, it takes such a storm to wake us up to reality, and even then we don’t always pay attention. If you read the headlines each day in the newspaper or on the Internet, we have more stormy winds blowing throughout the world than we have solutions.
But perhaps we are looking in all the wrong places for the answers. Maybe the solutions are so simple they elude us or we brush them off as insignificant answers. Reflecting on this made me recall a passage in the Bible:
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. – 1 Kings 19:11-12
Maybe it is the gentle whisper we need to listen to more, or seek first, or make time to listen. Maybe it is in the most miniscule details that we find the answers. Maybe we are not meant to find the answers in this lifetime. Whatever the case may be, may the winds we encounter keep us moving in the right direction, along with nature’s elements and time.
May the winter winds yield to spring’s renewal, allowing for additional growth and knowledge. May we learn to recognize the voices in the wind and not discount the whispers of the way, the truth, and the light encountered upon the journey.
Winter wind blowing cold and hard,
Through the folds in the yard,
The woods and the trees,
The fields where the clover once stood in the summer breeze,
The hills up high and valleys way down low
As Jack Frost fills the land with snow
Making patterns that bob and weave
In the early dawn and the nights’ blue deep.
Winter wind whisking the air to and fro
In and around everywhere one goes,
Blowing, blowing hard
As if trying to overthrow nature’s art,
Toppling trees and branches and hitting the eaves
Trying to withstand the force as it leaves
Its mark upon everything it touches
Like and artist wielding brushes
Painting the scene before the eyes
As March deems its path through life.
Winter wind circling around and around
The robins hopping up and down
Dancing in the cold with ruffled feathers
Orange and bold and blue that is weathered
Eyes bright and beaks calling
To the skies as the snow keeps falling
All around like a mini blizzard in a glass ball
Soon to yield hither to spring’s thaw.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
Thanks to Our Readers
Once again, we thank our readers and viewers for taking time to view our work. We would also like to thank anyone who has bought and read our books, Nikki Jean, and Trouble with a Captial L-U-K-E. We appreciate your support.
-Lisa, Sadie, and Leo
Resources and Related Links
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale – https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php
Spring equinox – https://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-spring-vernal-equinox