For three days now, the Mountains have been buffeted by relentless winds. The sky is blue, the sun is shining and, if it were calm, these would be lovely days presaging the spring to come. But the strong winds keep us indoors, and when we do go out for a walk, they whip the scarves off our necks and push us along the streets at a faster pace than we intend. From our windows we can see the eucalypts in the ravine below, thrashing in the unpredictable gusts. A litter of twigs and leaves scurries about the streets.
It reminds me vividly of the time we spent in St.-Remy-de-Provence, the French town where Vincent Van Gogh spent time in the local asylum. For four days while we were there, the Mistral blew unceasingly, setting everyone's teeth on edge. When it suddenly died, it was as if the whole town sighed with relief. I remember thinking that it was the worst place possible to put people like VanGogh who were already somewhat unbalanced.
As far as I know, our neighbours here don't have a word for the wind. Perhaps (and I hope this is the case) it is not a common occurrence. The weather bureau is predicting a change tomorrow which will see the winds ease up and clouds move in. By Monday there may be showers, and our Australian Mistral will be gone. Can't be too soon for me.