Happy Birthday, Tina!
we were released from first grade,
sent home in 100 mph
to walk home alone before it increased.
We knew how silly adults could be.
Tina and I collapsed on the silent side of a sandhill.
experience taught us exactly where to sit,
that spot in Chinook air shadow,
our little faces scoured fuchsia by fury of wind and sand,
now protected, a tiny stolen peace.
Finally, with renewed bravery,
we grasped one another’s hand, left our shelter.
Parka hoods became our punishment,
they whipped and lashed us with
torturous hood strings, our Inquisitors.
We knew when a quick hand squeeze meant
the other was blinded by
dirt or a zipper sting that blasted an eye.
On Wind Days your clothing
became your enemy.
We learned to walk blind for blocks,
slowly felt our way
so our weeping peepers were safe.
Sometimes we collapsed flat
in a dry ditch to save at least our backsides
from locomotive air.
Ending in Kansas from the Colorado front range
was not a stretch for our imaginations.
We knew Dorothy was our wind sister,
if only we two, could get to Oz.
In the ditch we giggled, thrilled and skittish,
we laughed until our sides ached,
until we had to pee.
Have you ever tried to pull your pants down
and tinkle on a Wind Day?
The stream, violent and unpredictable,
splattered sideways and rebounded, no way to aim,
which caused more hilarity and well, more pee.
Other times, we had to hide on the downwind side
of a giant cottonwood to gasp air,
the pressure stole our breaths
whipped words out of our mouths
sent them eastward, past Longmont, past Brush, past the sugar beet farms.
When we felt courageous, we grasped the
bottoms of our coats and hauled them behind us,
over our heads, makeshift sails.
We waited for a gust of air like surfers
readying for a wave.
You could hear it coming,
as it blasted down the first mountain ridge,
mirror clouds rolled lickety-split through the sky.
The gust grabbed our little bodies and our sail,
hurled us down the empty field until our legs
couldn’t keep up and we fell splat in the tall wheat.
We shrieked with terror and delight
licked the blood as it dripped from our knees.
We arrived at my house, first
relieved and exhausted from the trip,
dusk turned all color to gray,
my houselights gold
but we didn’t want to part,
both anxious about what waited in the light.
So, I would walk Tina home,
reveling in our Woman vs. Nature fight with
a Colorado Chinook.
On our way to Tina’s place, we dawdled,
hair slapped all around our heads,
we sat in tall weeds to hide from any siblings
that might lurk about.
Then Tina walked me half way back to mine…
And so it went until darkness won.
We shouted, “One, Two Three, Run,”
turned our backs and hightailed it to our respective troubles.
That night, wind howled.
The house creaked and moaned,
metal siding became loud whistles
that pierced through the din.
Roof shingles loosened and thumped east,
outdoor chairs and trash can lids clattered
into the distance.
I lay awake in the tempestuous thunder,
yearned for Tina’s morning knock,
another adventure on our way to school.