They Call the Wind Mariah

June 22, 2010

The plains states are notorious for unceasing wind. Some people claim to have been driven crazy by the unrelenting, blustery, air.  Much destruction has been caused by hurricanes and tornados. Many people bemoan the wind, indeed, sometimes they curse the wind.

Reminds me of my mother and older sisters draping their just styled hair in scarves before leaving the house so the wind would not disturb their coif.  Looking back, I don’t know how a typhoon could have destroyed my sisters hair style, given the teasing and gallons of hair spray she used. It always looked like heavy armor instead of real hair. I was convinced it was bullet proof.

I was pleasantly surprised when I moved to a large city, and discovered there was little wind to contend with, except when the occasional storm passed through. My recent move to Southern Colorado has me wondering why I spend a minimum of 30 minutes distributing mousse and other gels through my fine hair in hopes that it will enhance my crowning glory.

Once I have shampooed my hair, I move as quickly as I can, and standing at attention before a mirror, begin the soft curling procedure; twisting chunks of hair around a thick circular brush while maneuvering the hair dryer in all sorts of angles. That is only the drying operation at attempts of having soft, natural curls.  Brushing and styling my hair takes another 10 minutes. I end this with a light spray hoping that will keep my accomplishment in place.

Thirty-seconds later I am dashing toward my car, and the second I step into the out-of-doors, swirling gusts of wind have dashed any hopes that I might have had in looking well-groomed. My efforts laid to waste, I start my car and wonder just how stupid I was to have wasted all that time in the first place when I know what the result will be.  Silly me! There is no such thing as a good hair day in Southern Colorado.

Oh yes, the importance of “The Wind Mariah.” Our farm had a modest herd of cattle where water was drawn by a wind mill. Each morning and intermittently throughout the day we would pull the lever which engaged gears, driving huge blades to catch wind that eventually produced a trickle, then a cascade of cool, clear, sweet water.  Every farm had a wind mill, but as electricity became prevalent, water pumps replaced the giant towers.

In the hinterlands of the plains, where there is no electricity to operate pumps, the wind is the most reliable means of driving the giant blades of mills to draw water for ranchers whose cattle are feeding in far off pastures. I love the sight of them. They are a hint of civilization in beautiful, but dry, barren, desolate and lonely landscapes.

Steady, but mild, light, puffs of air, was relied upon in ancient times during harvest when winnowing wheat. Modern farmers rely on the early morning zephyrs to dry heavy dew on ripened hay and alfalfa before mowing can begin. Swathes of wheat, oats, flax, and barley cannot be run through a combine during harvest before searing, hot, stiff, breezes, dry the heavy, grain laden stalks. There would be no tall tales of sailing the seven seas by sailors without gales, hurricanes, and typhoons.

Ghosts of Windmills Past

Modern technology has borrowed from ancient technology with the invention of wind turbines that produce energy. There are several wind farms dotting the countryside in the plains states.  Wind energy is the new clean energy and given the recent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it would behoove non believers to take a look at our necessity to continue our greedy life style to sustain bad habits, and, by too many people, the nonexistent concern for our planet and future generations.

Even though we may be at odds and curse the destruction caused by wind, our lives depend on what was immortalized in the song, “They Call the Wind Mariah.”

“Away out there they got a name,

For rain and wind and fire.

The rain is Tess, the fire Joe,

And they call the wind Mariah.”


2 thoughts on “They Call the Wind Mariah

  1. It is interesting how we harnessed the wind when there was no other choice and now we once again are harnessing the wind because our choices are becoming limited due to cost and environmental damage. What is old is new again. Thanks for sharing our memories of the wind and windmills.

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