Wyoming Wind

“Wind—tyrant king of Wyoming. Wind-driven sand blasts the paint off buildings and gnaws out the softer layers of wood between the harder growth rings. For most houses on the exposed plains, a sheltering band of trees planted on the west side is as essential as a roof. Without the trees, you could lose the roof. Or your mind. The wind sculpts the trees into misshapen weathervanes, streaming east. Wyoming highway rest areas have wind shelters made of two high brick walls that join at a V, like a ship’s prow. The V points west as predictably as a compass points north. The Wyoming tourist board is in denial. Come tourists, enjoy a picnic in our lovely highway rest areas. Just bring along some bolts to fasten your sandwiches to the table. Fifty-pound sandbags weight the bottoms of the rest-area trash cans. Without them, the big steel cans bounce away like Styrofoam cups. Forlorn cows endure a lifetime of wind, joylessly converting the sparse grass of the plains into meat until slaughter brings relief. Legends tell of people driven to murderous insanity by the wind.”