March 31, 2020

Whichever Way the Wind Blows

Illustration by George Danby

Illustration by George Danby

• By John F. Chisholm •

The mood of this farm varies with the wind direction.  Blue-ribbon weather the other day made me realize it.  The smiles and waves of friends and acquaintances proved it.  I went mowing.  You’d have imagined that no one had ever seen an International tractor before.  I thought about that and all its implications as I worked.  It brought to mind an old saying I’ve heard from more than one wise, old sage:  There’s always a sunny day coming.

Thank goodness.

Here in Levant, sultry, hot summer weather blows in from the south and southwest.  The sky is milky.  Heat, more than sunshine, blankets the farm.  The cows lie in the shade of the barn.  Swallows line up atop the barn door, under the awning, quiet in the heat.  Haze obstructs the view across our fields.  Even the grass wilts.  Every breath seems an effort.

Work proceeds in slow motion, whether inside or out.

But happily, the weather always changes, particularly here in Maine.

Major storms back in from the east and northeast.  First, high and wispy mare’s tails whip across the sky, harbingers of wet weather.  Then alto cumulus, flock-of-sheep clouds, descend before gray blots out all blue.  The clouds lower further.  Precipitation follows.  The cows huddle in the barn.  The swallows are nowhere to be seen.  Waves of rain pound our metal roofs and trample the grass.

I glance outside before running between buildings, opting for indoor work, usually in the garage.

Finally, the rain ends.  Cool Canadian weather rushes in from the north and northwest.  The breeze is welcome, the air turns crisp and invigorating.  Sunshine sparkles.  The undersides of the grass blades flash light green in seas of wind-billowed stems.  The cows and sheep graze until you can see the weight coming on.  Swallows swoop, chirping in joyous abandon.

People smile and wave.  It’s great to be alive.

I inhale deeply and imagine all the jobs it would be wonderful to accomplish today.

How strange to realize that the mood of this farm varies with the wind direction.  Even more peculiar, people outdo the barometer, reflecting the weather.

Remembering that when the rain pounds down or the haze, heat and humidity make you wilt is the trick.  That, in turn, is much easier to write about than accomplish.  It certainly helps to know that, regardless of the present conditions, there is good news:

There’s always a sunny day coming.