March is always ‘In Like a Lion, Out Like a Poltergeist’

I realize we live in Wyoming, and wind is just part of the deal. If we didn’t have wind, our state would be far too perfect, and it would quickly be overrun by too many people. The wind keeps Wyoming the way we like it.

Wind. It’s a constant this time of year. School children in most of the rest of the Northern hemisphere are taught that March comes in like a lion, but goes out like a lamb. That means they can count on breezy days at the beginning of the month, and calm, warm days as April approaches.

But Wyoming’s a little different. We get the lion for the majority of March. And even January, February and April, too. And while other states are turning green and being bathed by soft, warm mists of rain in the spring, Wyoming’s still in the throes of winter, getting hammered by buckets of snow driven by hurricane-force winds.

But I’m not complaining. Well, I should say I try not to complain. I don’t always succeed. But I have to remind myself that wind serves a number of very helpful purposes. First of all, it keeps us relatively unpopulated. We have plenty of wild, open spaces here, and that’s because there aren’t so many people in the state that we have to fill all those beautiful places with cities and towns.

But wind is actually a benefit to the wildlife and wild spaces, too, above and beyond keeping them free of human habitation. The snow we get in the higher elevations provides much of the moisture the plants need to survive through the drier months, and if it weren’t for the wind, that snow would cover all the forage wildlife species need to survive. They can dig through the snow for food, but digging requires energy, and the more they dig, the more they have to eat. The wind blows the snow off those plants, allowing our wildlife to survive the winter more efficiently.

So remember that when the wind’s howling outside. Yes, it’s miserable, but it won’t blow forever, and when it stops, you’ll have plenty of wildlife and wild places to enjoy – all because of that wind.

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