Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson

I used to live in a Wyoming town known for its consistently high winds. On the rare occasion when the wind quit blowing, everyone fell down. Spring is our high wind season here in the valley–maybe not quite as constant and harsh as in Laramie where my neighbors used to measure wind velocity with an anvil on a length of chain – but significant nonetheless. I’ve witnessed brown clouds of dust bowl proportions carrying newly plowed soils from Hooper and points west to the foot of the Sangres.

Some years ago, the Saguache County Commissioners, pressured by farmers in the central part of the valley, agreed to erect a series of sand-resistant fences to prevent the easterly migration of agricultural properties. Crestone realtors, eager to bolster their inventories, and the directors of the Baca Grande Property Owners Association, eager to generate fees from additional lots, teamed up with the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council and filed a successful lawsuit, claiming that the prevailing winds came from beyond the county line, and therefore the commissioners did not have jurisdiction. While I had sympathies for both sides of the argument, I was selfishly glad that the court ruled against the county commissioners. I know of a nearby canyon where a heap of seed caps formerly worn by valley farmers are deposited annually. Occasionally, a Stetson turns up. Whenever I am running low on hats, I know where to find them.

History buffs may remember an effort on the part of the Crestone Moffat Business Association, some years ago, to generate tourism by way of our seasonal winds. A windwagon regatta was staged out on T Road, featuring an assortment of four-wheeled sailing vessels. The winds were strong and crowds of onlookers lined our county road for miles. There were raffles and side bets. Some say competition between the Crestone and Moffat land yacht clubs was so severe it may have resulted in sabotage. Whatever the case, a haywagon belonging to a crew from Moffat, rigged up with a massive spinnaker sail, was unable to navigate the first of the infamous “S” turns on T Road. It ran through a fence, across a pasture and into a herd of herefords, causing an unfortunate stampede. An elderly onlooker from Colorado Springs sprained an ankle while running away from the crazed bovines, and the event was never held again because of liability concerns.

More recently, on the day before Easter, a formidable dustdevil gathered up thirty-five free-range and wholly organic laying hens and delivered them to the front lawn of a nearby church. Since an Easter potluck had been planned, church folk saw it as divine providence. When the rightful owner of the poultry came by to reclaim his property, he was reminded of the passage in Revelation Chapter 2 wherein God condemns those who “eat food sacrificed to idols and practice fornication.” Furthermore, the preacher said, God promised to make war against said heathens “with the sword of (his) mouth,” clearly a reference to the wind, and deliver “hidden manna,” clearly a reference to the chickens, to his obedient followers.

The other day, the wind was getting on my nerves. I went down to the Bliss Cafe for a beer and made the mistake of complaining about the weather to a self-appointed sage. “Dude, there’s no need for negativity,” he said. “It’s all good.” I reminded him that the wind messed with people’s allergies. That the wind carried pesticides. That we were all downwinders in one way or another and we were lucky it wasn’t worse. “I just believe that we create our own reality,” he said.

“Ok,” I said. And I went home to give it a try.


Caution: The preceding anecdotes should not be construed as anything but the author’s created reality.