Time for the wind ...

Yes, it is the start of the political season. Yes, many of us work for bosses. Yes, most of us are married. Add all that to the fact that this is South Dakota, and yes, the wind must blow.

The sun may be shining or snow might be falling, but the wind is always present. We’ve grown accustomed to it. A tourist might yell as the tumble weeds knock him over, “Wow, feel that wind!” and the local farmer could casually reply, “What wind?”

We know what ‘horizontal rain’ is. We know that trees growing on the prairie are never straight. We look out of a window, see which way the cows are facing, and know what direction the wind is blowing. We also know what direction NOT to stand from the herd.

Birds don’t migrate through South Dakota, they simply end up where the wind puts them. Kites are fun, or if you aren’t big enough, they are dangerous. Car painters sandblast the chassis before priming by driving cross state. Here, even telephone poles grow crooked. Only in South Dakota do the radio stations consider the wind speed when trying to send radio waves to a market upwind. Wind mills don’t work here, they get blown away. The last South Dakota woman to wear a hoop skirt was rescued by the coast guard. The only dogs raised here are air-dales. If Kansas hadn’t already claimed them, Dorothy and Toto would have originally been South Dakotans. Concrete workers have to be careful pouring floors, or they end up with a wall. In South Dakota, railroad trains have been know to get blown off course.

Wind can sometimes be a good thing. The thought of erosion isn’t quite so scary when you know that your topsoil will be replaced with your neighbor’s topsoil. If you plan it right, you can drive with the wind coming and going. We don’t have that many floods, because the rivers are sometimes blown back to their headwaters. Golfers need tracking devices in the golf balls to find their long drives. Hunters, upwind from their prey, can shoot most rifles six or eight miles to bag that elusive trophy. Bird hunters have three or four minutes, or a cup of coffee, to take aim at a bird trying to take off into the wind. Politicians can speak at one whistle-stop and, if going upwind, can beat the whistle to the next stop. The town clock tower need have only one face; if the tower is put on a turning swivel the entire town can read the time, if they can read fast. People fly through the novel “The Winds of War” and rise to the song “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”

Politicians don’t like the wind; they don’t like competition.

Think of all the terms we use concerning the wind: downwind upwind, crosswind, blowhard, full of wind, windbag, tailwind, headwind, windy-between-the-ears.

I have many more thoughts concerning the South Dakota wind, but people might think that those comparisons apply to me.