The Wind and the Bedroom

For 100 years our farm has challenged the wind. Brandished a fist, lifted its chin and braced itself.

And for 100 years the wind has pummeled our house.

Blustery air rips down the valley year round, but winter is the worst. Gusts pound the siding, rattle the roof and quake the glass panes.

All told, the house has withstood this chronic abuse…fairly well. But with time, bruises appear. A couple of black shutters dangle off a single hinge, like loose teeth. Rain gutters hang like loose shoe laces. And the clapboard weathers quickly, especially on the windward side — hit by both frosty winter gales and brutal summer sun.

Indoors, anyone can ID the wind-faced rooms. On bad days, gusts swirl around the house and cold seeps through its pores. We crank the heat and the furnace growls, but the drafts hold fast.

Last night I couldn’t shed my chill. Buried under a blanket I was stranded on the couch. I could use a drink, I thought after a while, testing a toe in the ambient air. Nope, not worth it.

A half hour of TV rolled by. I kinda have to pee, I thought, sitting up and letting the blanket fall away. Actually, I’ll hold it.

Finally, I lunged from the couch and took the stairs by two, up to the kids’ room. The one room that breaks the house rules.

Yes, their bedroom faces the wind and yes, the walls are just as thin as anywhere else.

Perhaps it’s the room’s diminutive size or thanks to the space heater parked in the corner (and hot enough to peel wallpaper and plaster). Maybe it’s because we’ve got 3 kids stuffed in there, dormitory style.

Whatever the reason, their room is windproof and cozy. An air filter hums away, nearly drowning out the classical radio station competing with the hissing radiator. It’s soothingly dark, with a faint whiff of light from a baby toy temporarily casting blue stars and a crescent moon on the ceiling.

And wouldn’t you know it? On this windy night of nights, the two big kids are sharing Cayden’s top bunk. I creep in and flop down on Hadley’s rumpled duvet, shoving away action figures and legos that cascaded from above. Sighing, I stretch out on my stomach and strain to hear the music. Is that Strauss on the radio? I’m pretty sure that’s who’s playing…

Then there’s a rustle from the covers overhead. A purposeful rustle. I feel what’s above: a kid sitting up, the other passed out.

Sucking in my breath, I listen. There’s a pause before a┬ásleepy, curt voice pipes up:

“Mom?”

Don’t rattle the legos, don’t rattle the legos…..


“Mom!”

“Yes, Hadley….”

“What are you doing down there?”

“I’m warming up, Had. And resting.”

“Mom?”

“Yea…”

“Get out of my bed! Go get to your own bed. And go sleep in it! This is the kids’ room!”