I live in Southern Alberta. Chinook territory. A chinook is a warm wind that usually occurs in fall and winter months in this region. It is a powerful wind that can gust up to hurricane speeds of 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph). A chinook arch appears in the sky creating a very distinct line between solid cloud cover and the clear blue sky. After living in the region for some time, one can become adept at gauging when the chinook is going to arrive. One minute it is calm outside and the next, the trees are swaying vigorously, tumble weeds somersault across roads, and opening car doors becomes a feat in itself.
December 12, 2017, I woke to a pink hue peeking through my blinds. I could not hear any wind and knew instantly that a chinook would be commencing soon. The outside temperature was 11 Celsius (52 F). The temperature is a great indicator for chinooks. These winds can change the temperature from −20 °C (−4 °F) to as high as 10–20 °C (50–68 °F) in less than 24 hours.
I love to power-walk and, looking out the window, I knew I had a short window of opportunity to get a walk completed if I left the protection of my house asap. I managed to get dressed and out the door quickly for my usual 50-minute walk, wondering as I looked at the sky, if I was going to make it home before the wall of wind hit. That is what it feels like…being hit by a wall of wind.
The walk was pleasant and calm for 40 minutes and then it happened…my window of opportunity came slamming shut! I rounded a corner, heading straight-on into the gale. The remainder of the walk, normally taking 10 minutes, stretched into 15 as I pressed onward, straining vehemently against the invisible force, dust and dirt flying into my eyes and mouth. It’s a comical sight, really! There is no such thing as a good hair day where I live and, if wearing a dress, one must be cautious stepping out into a chinook for fear of experiencing the iconic Marilyn Monroe skirt billowing moment.
I trudged on, noting how uniquely nature teaches us lessons. Life is like living in chinook territory. One day things are going along smoothly and the next it is utter chaos, disrupted by the winds of change, blowing into your life with no regard, even for your hair!!!
I put my head down and leaned into the wind. The window of opportunity for a pleasant walk had suddenly disappeared. Yet, in it’s wake was another opportunity…to test my resolve. I left the comfort and protection of my house and found circumstances in which I needed the ability to endure, to move forward into the whirlwind, to embrace the turmoil and remain steadfast in my purpose. I could have texted my daughter to drive to pick me up, but I welcomed the challenge. It was invigorating and uplifting (pardon the pun!). I did not actually become airborne, but I did realize that the very force that was impeding my progress was also supporting me. I could lean into the gusts and the strength of nature’s gales countered my strength, holding me up. Whether you like it or not, life is going to have many changes. Find your power, take them on, use your will to withstand and advance…just maybe, not in a dress!