Ramble with Storm: The wind cries Mary or mercy

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Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, our family’s mixed Lab.

The trees made such eerie sounds in the howling south winds that the meathead would stop and cock his right ear. Don’t ask my why he only cocks his right ear. Maybe he is hard of hearing in the other.

And sometimes, when the wind was right, it would catch the flap portion of his cocked ear and flop it up and down.

As often in winds like this, I find Jimi Hendrix singing, “The Wind Cries Mary” in my head. (I do have a strange head).

I didn’t think I could find a YouTube video of Hendrix actually performing the song. And I did not, but I found something almost better: A video of the song set to Edward Hopper’s works.

At least I think they are all Hopper’s works. That is a combination I would never have thought of, but it works.

The wind had been blowing all night, so most of the snow to be blown was already piled into drifts, but there was some still being drearily swept along.

The song reminded of my first couple years working in news. My brother had a business covering state government in Harrisburg, Pa. for out-of[-town television stations. I worked for him as sound man, reporter when needed and run-to-the-airport or Amtrak guy.

Occasionally, our main station in Pittsburgh, WPXI, would fly in a reporter to cover a major breaking story. One of the two they regularly sent was named Mary. One day I found myself singing, “And the wind cries Mary,” before I caught myself.

There are some TV reporters who would have shredded body parts if a lowly guy like me who had the impudence to do that. But she just laughed and said how she always loved the song.

What a dense rich song, haunting and eerie as the wind itself.

And this was a perfect morning for that memory.

The weather has settled into a pattern the likes of which I don’t remember since my college years in the late ’70s.

For those too young to remember, the best graphic image I remember for those winters is the one John Cole told me a year or two before he retired as Illinois’s upland game program manager.

He said during those two winters–77-78 and 78-79–the blowing snow would freeze in the nostril holes of pheasants, killing them.

And the wind cried mercy.

I figured with the forecast for the next few days, with the wind and all this morning, this might be the last chance to stretch out an extended ramble, so we took advantage of the warmer morning (at least the air temperature was 35 degrees warmer than yesterday, the wind chill might have been close).

The Canada geese raised a racket on the lake to the west. I give them two days. Between the heavy snow coming tonight and the bitter cold Monday and Tuesday, I think they will be headed to Crab Orchard by Sunday afternoon.

The meathead and I trekked across the ice on the south end of the north old clay pit. And dawn came slower than I expected, but down in the bowl of the pit we were out of the wind.

Nobody has been ice fishing on either pit.

On the south side of the south pit, a lone mourning dove fluttered off.

But in town, the wind found chutes to channel down and focus.


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