Subj: Wind
Date: 95-11-13 11:33:05 EST
To: El Polvo

Dear Dusty,

Walked the kids to school this morning, Zach in his cowboy boots stomping along behind us, he'd been telling me over breakfast that sometimes he just wanted quiet, he didn't want all the talk at school. Cristina would stop at the puddles and toe the thin ice before moving on. The high school kids were gathered on the front steps of their building waiting for the first bell. Sara Cobb came by with her kids and asked if we'd found the sackful of gift catalogues she'd left inside our door friday and I said Yeh, we'd sat on the floor that evening going through them all and the kids told me I was asking for too many things. Told the kids so long, walked on toward the mtns, the sky all overcast, but a small pool of clear sky over in the east still there letting some sunlight in, it'd come up not long ago like molten gold. Zach's first grader friends were clustered by the school door urging him to run but he didn't even pick up his pace even when they got to the chant stage where all of them were hepping him in unison, Run Zachary, run! He just wanted quiet.

I moved into it, walked along the street the two blocks to the edge of town and the wheat fields there, the pasture where the buffalo roam, the road to the Benchmark. Swung around back towards Laura past the log cabin where the deputy lives, Jerry's auto repair with his yard full of junkers, him standing there talking with someone warming up next to a 50 gal drum fire, past the people on the corner where the ranch road to the mtns becomes Laura and on down where I see the horse that no one ever rides see me and start over toward the road and my heart warms up, he's coming over to say howdie. I go to meet him, pull up some grass to give him, he takes it, sniffs at me, drops the grass and sniffs at me good, I'm standing there smelling her warm breath on my face, talking to her, just warm words, then she nibbles at my cheek and my heart melts, ol' horse.

I pat her nose and move on, see Grovel the Dog at the end of the pasture sort of squirming around there, lanky young dog with greyhound and terrier, maybe some Jack Russell, snow white with light brown markings, lithe and long and bright eyed, this dog shies away as I get nearer and then she's down on her side snaking around and it's like it's too excruciating for her, you touch her and she'll go up in smoke but she must be touched, you have to do it, and the closer I get the more she writhes and grovels and finally I'm patting her head and she rolls and bucks and bellycrawls in close to my feet and then dares to climb up my leg a little and I'm praising her for her bravery and wondering at the same time how this dog got this way, ol' Grovel.

Snowed a few days back, been going all day with a lead-in of a few days of snow showers and cold, finally it's coming down stead and that night it seems a pretty sure thing that in the morning we're going to get up to a foot of snow. There's already five inches on the ground, it is zero wind, the right mixture of quiet and cold and night. About three a.m. I wake up to this moaning, powerful moaning made by the trees high up out of a strong stead wind and I know something that makes me feel peaceful but I don't know what it is. In the morning I go to the window to see what's going on and there's no snow, there's puddles of water where the snow was, and they aren't all that big, I mean they are evaporating fast. The kids are amazed. I'm amazed. This is the Chinook we'd heard about, self generating warm wind that foals in the Sawtooths on its own whim and comes barreling down, lifting roofs off that have lost their grip, the auditorium had blue sky as a ceiling one year, pruning trees down to their basics, invigorating the people who have to lean into this wind to stay upright and at the same time have lateral stability on deck at all times for when the wind shifts to catcha. A friend was visiting who we had planned to take out to Sun River and we took off in the truck, ran into a place where the gravel was being lifted off the road and hailstoning our window, breaking it here and there, then the river, the wind is making huge waves and blowing the spray off horizontally making rainbows, we drive up the canyon and get to this bridge, steel girder thing over the Sun, park and walk across, but half way over this gust hits and nearly lifts me off the bridge, I have the camcorder in hand and for a second there it's Adios camcorder, I gotta grab hold of something, I see Frank and Marilyn being blasted along and they are both at 75 degree angles running, the bridge is going zomzomzomzombruddabruddabrudda, high frequency oscillations, we meet on the other side electric with adrenalin and Frank tells about his trip down in his freighter from Seattle to San Diego when they ran into a cyclone that was like this, 100 mile and hour gusts, him on the bridge, the only guy on the crew who was not hanging out over the railing, laughing because he had a fine ship beneath him and from the logs he knew it had taken this and worse and survived. He heads back across as if to be back on the bridge 15 years before and he has to overhand it for part of the way, holding to the steel girders. Pebbles the dog is running back and forth between him and Marilyn and me on the camera and she is at 70 degrees to the horizon and happy at that.

On the way back to town Frank wants me to stop and let him get a picture of the Haystack in the distance with the snowy mtns beyond and when he gets out the wind blows the door so far forward that it doesn't work anymore. Just ripped the handle out of his hand and blew that sucker so far forward its steel hinges bent and the skin of the door pushed in the skin of the fender. By the time we get back all the puddles are dry and the town looks like it's been in a long drouth. We go inside and it's warm and calm.

I'm heading into Choteau to buy some bales of hay for the chickens and rabbits' dwellings, have the body man look at the truck door, pick up some groceries, but wanted to say howdie and thank you for your three letters of the other night, the second installment of the Carla King story, the good advice re: family affairs and the plan to put together an electronic newsletter, that's a keen idea, it'll be fun. Thanks for laying out the Net and WWW so clearly. I comprendo now.


PS-How do I get in the AOL economy class GNN?

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