John Andrist: The Wind Blows, Silent And Invisible


If you are a loud mouth you can say anything stupid, and people just nod their heads.

When I was young I detested the wind. Perhaps the dust is a better word.

In the days of my youth wind invariably meant dust and dirt. Many is the time I said, “North Dakota would be a marvelous place to live, if we could shut off the wind.”

If it wasn’t blowing dirt it was blowing snow.

Well, we haven’t found a way to shut off the wind, but my, have we ever made it less disagreeable.

Modern farming practices — no till and air seeders — represent the greatest environmental improvement in North Dakota air quality in my lifetime, even more than the development of clean coal.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recently called North Dakota environment policy “Neanderthal”.

The American Lung Association grades Bismarck with an A for both ozone and particle pollution. Minneapolis gets a C for ozone and a B for particle pollution.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Not only is our air clean, but today the winter landscape is mostly white, not a dirty gray.[/mks_pullquote]

If you are a loud mouth you can say anything stupid, and people just nod their heads.

Without bothering to check the facts Dayton ignores the larger question of where he could find the electricity and at what cost if and when we shut down North Dakota coal generation. But I digress.

Not only is our air clean, but today the winter landscape is mostly white, not a dirty gray. Without the dirt the wind is so much more manageable.

If you like to indulge in things philosophical it is fascinating to contemplate all the things wind does, both good and bad. Yet it is invisible, like radio waves that drive the computers, smart phones, garage door openers and myriad of devices that now are central to our lives.

Good? Well, it generates a lot of electricity from wind turbines. It is helpful for drying all kinds of things. It is really quite delightful if it is behind you when you are driving a car or riding a bicycle. Or if you are sitting outside, enjoying an evening breeze.

To be sure, it is a tad annoying, particularly in the spring season when it seems to be perpetual.

Some of you know I’ve become a wind sculpture guy. I’m talking about those mobiles that twist and turn in the wind in a variety of ways.

They seem to give a visual presence for the wind. Verse 8 in the third chapter of John tells us, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Sort of like me. Too often not knowing whether I’m coming or going — or where.

Thoughts from an idle mind

A baby died from blunt trauma recently in Minneapolis. If they find the guilty assailant, a long prison term seems certain.

And yet if that baby had died a short time earlier, before being liberated from the mother’s womb there would likely be no crime or prosecution.

Bad timing, I guess. That reality is what keeps abortion in the forefront for a guy like me who generally champions women’s rights.

Meanwhile the papers here are talking about an incident in which a Montana University fan accosted an NDSU player after a football game.

At the same time there is local debate on whether to sell beer at NDSU football games.

I suspect they eventually will. Money drives everything, particularly college sports.

Thousands of fans drink responsibly at games. But you can be pretty certain that most ugly incidents involve booze.