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When April attacks
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Just when you think it’s time to retire those sweatshirts, replace those heavy robes with something light, something airy, reach deep in your closet and crack out last year’s flat and worn-in flip-flops, we get upper level disturbances, plunging temperatures, wind gusts as high as 44 mph. What is going on?

On Sunday, we hear from someone improbably named Slugger White in Hilton Head that the final round of the Verizon Heritage golf tournament is halted because those little white balls, pesky enough during ordinary circumstances, wouldn’t remain in place, wouldn’t sit still. Can’t have that.

Give me snow showers after midnight, give me single-digit temperatures, take the last single leaf on the last single tree, bring on sheets of rain, days of slate-gray clouds. But high winds that buffet a car three lanes across? Gusts that rattle a window for hours no matter how much you try to steady the wooden frame with a wad of paper?

Outbursts that whip a palm tree upside down and inside out as if it were a skirt blowing over a woman’s head? Eruptions that pick up a garbage can and transport it to the next county? No thanks.

If T.S. Eliot can call April the cruelest month, I’d have to say the sound and passion and irrationality of a windy day is the closest weather approximation to evil I can imagine.

When a dog who lives to be outside amid untended cat food, discarded chicken bones, fresh spring grass, the occasional squirrel, takes four steps beyond the front door, puts her nose into the air, sniffs once or twice, then beats a hasty retreat to the safety of the house, you know something is seriously wrong with the universe.

When a baseball game is called for cold weather and amaryllises are blooming in late April and nine-year-old loquat trees that have never produced anything but sweeping branches and a fuller waistline are filled with fruit (the same with two nearby plum trees who never put out more than five or six plums a summer and a meyer lemon tree that only three months ago looked half-dead), you know things are not lining up right.

Was it something we said?

When a chicken walks out of an open door of her fenced-in surroundings - a first for me though not for others who tend my girls - wanders around the garden, then chooses to return to the safety of her coop instead of leaving home, that is sign enough that T.S. Eliot knew what he was talking about. April is the cruelest month.

I can deal with working in the garden, picking parsley, snipping lettuce, running across the occasional noxious stinging nettle, putting on a jacket, taking off a jacket, putting on a jacket, taking off a jacket. I can accept the cancellation of the reenactment of Paul Revere’s famous ride (I wasn’t going to go anyway). I can turn on a fan for white noise to drown out the sound of dogs barking at random in the lane, one at a time, each sadder than the other, or so it seems.

I can even stand to read about all the posturing and hypocrisy around Don Imus (I never understood the fuss about him), especially since Paul Wolfowitz is in just as much hot water at the World Bank.

I can swing with the natural pruning of ferocious winds (as long as my car isn’t sitting under a limb). But not the out-of-control aspect of the swaying. Not the irrational and inconsistent fits and starts of a gust.

When 40-foot trees are shifting by the hour and bushes are aiming for the horizontal, I feel I am losing purchase. I can’t get a grip on anything. For me, waking up to the sound of wind, then listening to the blowing, first one way, then another, is kind of like driving on ice. I turn the steering wheel one way, the tires go another. There is no connection, no sense.

During hurricane season in Key West, back in the days when no one evacuated the island, we would sit sequestered in our houses and watch overhead electrical wires spark and hiss, hiss and spark. The racket, the disturbance would go on forever, like a bad drug trip that takes hold of your central nervous system and won’t let go.

I try to think of the eerie and haunting sound of wind as the quintessential “surround sound” for which people pay so much money. But that doesn’t take me very far.

I try to step outside my emotions and just look at weather as a science, as meteorology. But that doesn’t work, either.

The only thing that helps is to look at the calendar and to know that soon enough we’ll have more warm weather than we’ll know what to do with. When that comes, some of us will be wishing for more breezes, more wind. But not me, thank you. That’s one bit of madness I can do without.