Monday, September 11, 2006
I remember chasing dust devils.....
When I was a kid we lived six miles out of a small town in Alberta, smack in the middle of the prairie. There was dust everywhere. You could only get to our home by gravel road, and any time a vehicle thundered past, clouds of dust would rise and be carried by the movement of the air. The farmer's field to the west of us was often standing in summerfallow, blowing top soil in our direction whenever the wind was right. In the summer we would blow our noses before bed and the snot would be black with dust. This was normal. We thought nothing of it.
Occasionally as we would be playing out in the warm summer afternoons, we would see an undulating column of dust moving towards us from down the gravel road. In my imagination, this small updraft of wind was actually a giant tornado, whirling out of control towards us, smashing everything in its path. Naturally I wanted to stand in the middle of it, proving once again my childish invincibility! My sister and I would run towards the tiny whirlwind and try to predict where it would travel, then stand in its path so it would swirl around us. If we guessed right, the wind would whip around, lifting skirts and hair and shoelaces, and we would shriek with delight. If it was very hot, we could chase the wind all afternoon.
The grit in the eyes, the dust stuck in the mucus membranes....these were small prices to pay for dancing with a devil.