High Winds

The wind began around sundown. Great heaving gusts that threw themselves against the house and caused it to snap and creak with every thundering rush. The dogs went ape sh*t. They lost the plot and ended up under my feet howling like banshees as they eyed the windows worryingly. I brushed my teeth, turned the lights down, and lifted each dog into the bed. They would sleep with me and we would all huddle together until the front had moved through.

Outside it truly did sound like the wind would rip everything apart. The mail bin was blowing across the yard. The chicken coop window had come unpinned and was banging against the coop wall repeatedly. The wind hissed and moaned ominously as it was funneled through the trees in the woods. It was easy to get caught up in the forlorn tragic noise and then be startled out of the trance by a wave of wind slamming into the house. Outside i heard the wooden chair moving across the porch and thought to take in the collection bin of filtered water for the chickens. I placed it in the kitchen on the floor for the night so sliding debris couldn’t knock it over. The potted plant swung wildly from the porch roof and the battered wind chimes clanged their two remaining metal sticks together as they swung around. Angry tree limbs bounced the laundry line up and down as they were whipped by the wind. I retreated to the house.

I sang to the dogs for a bit to distract them from the noise of the wind. It only works if you keep singing and i wanted to go to sleep…

I locked the door for the night and climbed into bed, situating Sili at the pillow and Cashew between my legs. This was strategic as Sili had discipline and caution of which Cashew had none. My legs were like bumper guards for her claws that would hopefully keep her from poking them into the sides of the mosquito net tent as she had such a frequent tendency to do. The many patches of medical tape on either side of the tent speak to the long standing issue. Eventually Cashew laid her head on the side of my foot and draped her paws over my left leg as she drifted off to sleep. Sili snuggled in against my shoulder and held my arm as she laid her head on the pillow beside me. It would have been fantastic if i could have just drifted off to sleep like Cashew. We were all cozy and warm and everyone was still instead of wild, no one was screaming like a banshee or poking holes in the side of the tent. However, i had a problem. The weather outside was murder on my arthritis and i couldn’t keep tart cherry juice in the house because i didn’t have a functioning refrigerator. My legs especially ached terribly and my instinct was to stretch or move them constantly as if i was somehow going to change positions to become more comfortable. I had told Cashew to be still and then here i was writhing back and forth while she was trying to settle and use my legs as a pillow. I tried to hold still for a couple hours to tuck them beneath the blanket and hold them during all the wind but eventually i realized my arthritis was not going to allow me to be there for them in the way i had hoped and i needed to get them settled elsewhere so i could have a restless night of writhing in pain because trying to hold still was making me crazy. I velcroed Cashew in to her thunder vest and placed her in her crate. I put Sili in between the freestanding closet and the wall at the back end of the house away from the windows. She curled up in a ball and tucked her head under her feet. I then climbed into bed and moved my legs all night, stretching and bending in an attempt to get some relief but there was none to be found. My knees were the main source of discomfort. Until i procured a working refrigerator i was going to have to live without tart cherry juice. November was going to be a pill.

When i woke for work at half past midnight the wind was still going in full force. I kept the dogs inside until the last hour before i would leave the property. They were terrified but they followed me to the dog run and went in. I bungeed the gate shut so Cashew could not jail break them and take off into the woods in the darkness.

When it came time to leave the property i made a decision to leave the cow gate open. I didnt want the wind ripping the hinges out of the wooden post they were in. The mailbox was still sliding across the property. There were tree branches down all over the yard and as i would soon realize the road as well. I left everything in the state that it was thinking that if i forced it to be where the wind didnt want it i would surely come home to busted things whereas if i did nothing they might just be out of place things.

As i drove off into the night i realized it was going to be a very wild drive to Fredericksburg. the shock absorbers had gone on the car, the tires were not great, and the wind gusts had a tendency to quickly shift the car 2 ft to the right mid propulsion. All this culminated into an experience i can only describe as flying through severe turbulence in a small airplane. When i was driving across flat ground in the valley i observed tree branches and strands of hay sliding sideways across the highway. It was here that the tendency to shift the car promptly to the right with each gust was most apparent. I was constantly course correcting to the left so that i would not run off the road. However, the gnarly bit of the drive was the winding roads that went atop the hills. As soon as i got up on top of the hill i felt very exposed to the wind and it was as if the car wanted to be airborne. Fighting the wind and driving without functioning shock absorbers lended an experience of transition from feeling glued to the floor mat which seemed to be coming up to meet me regularly to having the bottom of my stomach open up into an endless pit of vast and hollow nothingness. I was driving diagonally on a straight road in order to go straight and steering like a nutter on the winding roads. It was remarkable how much like flying through turbulence it actually felt. In my mind, logically, I knew I was not airborne, but my body said otherwise and in the darkness my eyes couldn’t see. There was a whole tree down on the road. I drove around it. There were branches and dead animals everywhere. Unfortunately i ran over two separate hunks of bloody meat which turned out as suspected to be deer pulverized previously by semi trucks. There were deer, coons, and porcupines on the road. It was an active night for the spooked critters. The problem was that when I had a car in front of me I couldn’t have the highbeams on and without them you didn’t see the carcass until it was under the car. When i finally made it to my destination i took my usual ten minute nap before heading into the facility. I put the parking break on, turned the headlights off, and locked the doors. The vehicle rocked back and forth from side to side with each gust. I felt like a tiny action figure in a toy car. I wondered if this was what babies felt like when rocked to sleep in a basinet. It was a restless arthritis plagued ten minutes before i sat up and put my mask on, gathered all my things, and headed into the facility. Once inside i recognized the same moaning noise i heard the wind make when whistling through the woods. It was squeezing through glass doors and whistling through the dining room of the facility. A few patients were up in their wheelchairs listening to the weather happen at 5 am. Old retired farmers never seem to sleep through weather. Even in dementia their bodies tell them they need to be up and alert to handle things when the wind gets to whistling through the doors.

Hours later the weather finally died down and the damage could be assessed. I learned that Williamson county got a tornado while austin had received all the rain. There was a tree down in Fredericksburg in addition to the one that fell across the road in Center Point. The temperature was in the low 40s in both towns when it finally moved on.

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