At 6:30 a.m. the air was still and the temperature was eight degrees. I sat on the bench at a deer stand deep in my woods. My coffee thermos was on my right, a book to read at my left, along with some note cards and a pen to capture an important idea (they usually arrive when least expected).
About 7:00 a.m., after two cups of coffee, no inspiring ideas to note, and hands too cold for book reading, the wind came up. A stiff, serious, “winter is on the way” wind that blew out of the northwest. It roared through the tops of the naked oaks and maples. It shook lose the still attached oak leaves. It caused this old hunter to pull up the hood on his jacket and tuck his cold hands in his pockets. No book reading. No note taking. Not even any more coffee drinking.
By 7:30 a.m. the wind was howling through the treetops, reminding me of winter days on the farm, when the wind, this northwest wind, tore around the barn while I was tossing down hay from the hay mow for the comfortable cattle below. Screeched around the corners of old farm house, sending a chill to the corners of the kitchen and dining room where the heat from the wood stoves didn't reach. Caused my brothers and me to pull up the collars of our wool Makinaw coats, pull down the ear flaps on our wool caps, and hurry us along our snow packed road to the country school a mile away.
By 10:30 the wind was a near gale, shaking the trees, making a mournful sound as it rushed through the naked branches, a sound that I remember so well in years past. Enough is enough. I gathered up hunting equipment, my thermos, my untouched note cards, my unread book and I headed back to the cabin, poured a cup of coffee and crowded up to my wood stove. And I tried to think of what I would tell my hunting partners when they learned that “a little wind” had sent me seeking a warmer place.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Oh, the great mysteries of the wind.
SPECIAL EVENT: December 4, 7:00 p.m. Premier showing of “A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps.” All Wisconsin public TV stations.
December 7, Velveteen Rabbit Book Store, 20 Sherman Avenue East, Fort Atkinson, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Book signing.
December 8, Barnes and Noble West Madison, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Book signing.
December 14, Fireside Books, West Bend, 10:30 to 2:30 p.m. Presentation and book signing.
December 23, Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio, 11:00-11:45 a.m.