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Blowin' in the wind

November 23, 2010 - Steve Murch
When I was going to school at Lake Superior State University in the late 1980s, I lived with a guy who we affectionately called Hick. One of his most-used sayings was “Wind is not our friend.” Anyone who has lived or spend any length of time in Sault Ste. Marie, where the wind comes whipping off Lake Superior, understands what Hick was talking about.

In a word, Brrrrr. I know, not a word, but you get my point.

The campus was built on the site of the old fort, up on a hill overlooking the St. Mary's River. Unfortunately, it also was built like a wind tunnel. The south side of the campus has buildings all in a row. Then about 75 yards across them is another row of buildings. The library and cafeteria, at the time I was there and I don't know if it has changed, were at each end. The middle – wide open.

And guess which way the campus pointed. That's right, directly at Lake Superior and the teeth of the wind. Winters were not fun trying to walk to the cafeteria when the wind was blowing. There were plenty of detours through as many buildings as possible to stay out of the wind.

I won't say you get comfortable with it, but you do learn to adapt and adjust.

I was reminded of those days a few weeks ago with the high winds and all the issues they created. You don't keep score with the weather, but if you did it would be Mother Nature 1, Northeast Michigan 0. We certainly found out who was in charge, and it's not humans.

Downed lines created all sorts of issue and kept crews busy day and night. For all of our advances, we still are at the mercy of the elements when things get a bit dicey. And yet, if you look back on it we didn't have all sorts of death and destruction. Yes, there was some damage, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

You have to take your hat off to the crews who were in the wind trying to take care of downed lines. It's not an easy job.

Now we are just days away from Thanksgiving and on the cusp of the winter season. It all adds up to the return of bone-chilling winds and seeking refuge. There are people who love winter and all it has to offer, but you have to believe they either don't like the high winds, or when the temperature dips into the loud crunch zone, making it less than enjoyable for all the wintertime activities. I could be wrong. They might like chapped lips, battling frostbite and a constantly runny nose.

I can handle the cold because you prepare for it. Snow can be enjoyable, but it gets old after a while (not to mention dirty looking). The wind? You can keep it.


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