Friday, May 20, 2011

¡Drat those Doña Anas!

I used to pooh-pooh those who complained about our winds. After all, I’d lived through Midwestern tornados, Pacific Northwest volcanoes and earthquakes and just before finding my querencia here, I survived Hurricane Andrew, the first of the biggies that devastated Florida.
I retain vivid childhood memories of the super-scary tornado siren and cowering, terrified, in the southwest corner of the basement of my Michigan home, something we’d all learned to do as tiny tots.
Once you’ve felt an earthquake rattle you to your very foundations, along with your home, your front yard and everything in your neighborhood, I don’t think you’re ever quite the same.
And how can you explain, to those who have never experienced them, the horror of volcanic eruptions and how it feels to see the fantasy snowcone mountain, that’s been a part of your daily landscape for decades, blow its top and transform overnight into a dark, jagged nightmare? What can you say about waking day after day to a darkened sky, getting almost accustomed to wearing masks and shoveling volcanic ash?
When reviewing disasters in order of their appearance in my life, my thoughts then turn to the monster hurricane and the rainy torrents that flooded my little coast community of Jupiter, Fla., and turned my umbrellas inside out and saturated my clothing in a drenching blast as I ran for shelter and watched neighboring communities ravaged into rubble.
By comparison, I would assure my Las Cruces amigos, a few windy spring days are nothing to fret about.
In fact, during my first years as a grateful refugee in the Mesilla Valley, I sort of enjoyed the spring winds. I bought kites and even wrote a column praising the refreshing breezes and had a contest to name them. After wading through nominations that included some pejoratives in Spanish that a kind, more fluently bilingual, reader warned me about, we finally agreed on a name: the Doña Anas. I greeted the winds fondly, by name, for several years thereafter.
But that was then and this is now. I’m about to start my 18th summer in Las Cruces and I have this to say about the once-somewhat charming Doña Anas: Enough already. I’m sick and tired of these infernal blasts.
This is the year they seem to go on forever, ruining perfectly good festivals, a lot of what’s left of my freeze-ravaged vegetation and many of the tender new plants I’ve tried to establish.
This is the year my kite collection seems to quake in fear rather than wag their tails in anticipation, every time I raise my garage door and let the furious vortexes swirl into their colorful refuge.
We all know about Charlie Brown’s famous kite-eating trees: my pretty little paper and plastic personal Air Corps have seen their comrades devoured by the kite-eating winds of 2011.
This is the year there were no April showers to bring May flowers, just lots more winds, triggering dust storms and fires in our scorched high desert lands.
Sand and dust seep in under our doors and coat everything with an aggravating layer of sticky grit.
The winds sandblast our plants, our kids, our pets, our homes, our cars and our very souls.
It’s time to strike back. I’m recruiting all of my most spiritual friends to pray for a balance in this year of floods and tsunamis and tornados. How about some relief for other parts of the globe and some rains for us, the gentle, cleansing kind?
I hope by the time your read this that our campaign, reinforced, I presume, by statewide San Ysidro commemorations and the annual Blessing of the Fields at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, has produced some relief.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.

1 comment:

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