Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Chinook

In the Laura Ingalls Wilder book The Long Winter, the family knows that spring is finally coming when they hear the wind blowing from the south.  It's a warm wind that ushers in milder weather and they call it the Chinook.  When I lived on the prairie, I came to both know and appreciate that wind.  On a cold late winter day, in a few hours, a Chinook wind can bring air 20 to 30 degrees warmer.  In just one day, the chinook carries the promise of spring.

We've had a very cold and snowy winter; certainly the coldest winter I've ever experienced in New Jersey.  Unlike the Ingalls family, we haven't suffered hunger and isolation for our troubles.  Around here, the roads are quickly cleared and we're able to get the usual supplies from the local market.  But the cold is still biting and we've grown weary of the slippery conditions and the piles of glittery, icy snow that remain everywhere we look.

After a cold and icy Saturday, Sunday dawned with a watery sunshine yielding temperatures that rose into the 40s.  By the middle of the afternoon, JT and I were exchanging our fleece sweatshirts for t-shirts and sniffing the gentle air like our cats at an open window.  Yesterday felt equally mild.  It's not exactly Florida and a cold rain is falling this morning, so winter has not yet lost its icy grip on us.

But we've seen the future.  It was glorious.

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