Rain drops speckled the office window. I stared at my dreary wind-and-rain swept yard with a hot mug of tea in hand. As more and more rain fell, the drops formed rivulets and trickled down out of sight. The smell of bacon from breakfast still hung in the air. Tammie, sitting in the office recliner was working online. I could hear the soft tappity-tap of her keyboard.
Taking a sip of the hot drink, I savored its comforting warmth and taste. I complained, “March is such an unsettling month.”
Looking up from her computer, my daughter asked, “I forget, did the month come in like a lion or a lamb this year?”
Turning to face my daughter, I exclaimed, “That’s what’s wrong with March and spring in general. It has such extreme weather from one day to the next and sometimes from one hour to the next.”
Nodding, Tammie wistfully commented, “When I left the house more often, it was hard to know how to dress on spring mornings. If I left the house without a jacket because it was hot, by the time I returned home in the afternoon, I’d be shivering because it was snowing and there were two inches of slush on the sidewalk.”
I added, laughing, “I’ll bet you left home other mornings bundled up against freezing temperatures and within hours, you wanted to know if there was some way to take off your coat and heavy sweater while caught in a traffic jam.”
Sitting down at my desk, I swiveled my chair towards Tammie and said, “Living through spring in Wisconsin is like living with Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde.”
Tammie nodded as she remembered, “One spring day you came home from work and said the sky to the west of the hospital had been blue and with rain falling, while across the hall a window facing east showed a gray sky with snow swirling in the air.” After a pause she questioned, “Was there a tornado watch issued for that afternoon?”
I shook my head and answered, “No. That was just a normal, split-personality spring afternoon. The most common months for tornadoes are April, May and June, though. In fact, this coming May 9th will be the 48th anniversary of my being in a mobile home picked up by a tornado. Luckily, it didn’t carry me off to Oz.”
“Wow! That must have been a scary experience!” Tammie exclaimed.
“It was!” I agreed, “But it passed over so fast. It would have been worse if the twister had behaved like a devil-wind I saw a few years ago.”
Frowning, Tammie wondered, “What’s a devil wind? How is one different than a tornado?”
I explained, “A devil wind is a swirling vortex of air, very much like a tornado, but smaller. It’s a mischievous little wind that swirls around and dances from one place to another like a tornado. I often saw them in the hay field on the farm during warm weather. They tossed Daddy’s windrowed hay around, making it hard for the machinery to pick up. Daddy would get off the tractor and use a hay fork to put it back in order.”
Continuing, I said, “Devil winds aren’t like the swirling wind you see in the lee of a building. They have a mind of their own. The devil wind I saw a few summers ago really had an attitude. I was swimming in Big Rapids Park on a sunny day with little wind. While in the water, I heard a big wind in one of the tree branches overhead. Then suddenly the wind devil dropped into the water and made a water spout. It bounced about in and out of the water amongst ten people, over and over. I’d never seen anything like it. Finally, as if it had enough water play, it went back to the tree top and twisted branches for a while before leaving for good.”
Smiling, Tammie said, “What a cool experience!” Glancing out the office window she mournfully announced, “Oh boy, look outside now. It’s snowing.” I just nodded and pulled a blanket over my lap.