Der wind

It’s not often a new language throws a gift at you: wind is one of them. It’s the same word in German as in English, and one which is easily pronounced: vint.

I’ve been struggling with pronunciation in my on-again, off-again efforts to learn German. For some reason I assumed it would be fairly easy (famous last words, aka story of my life). Seriously, I never understood what people meant when they said German was ‘guttural’. I always found the language nice and easy on the ear. What I didn’t realize was just how hard it would be to get the ‘ch’ sounds out of the back of my throat. At least without sounding like I’m choking. Ich probiere (I’m trying) but it’s a work in progress.

So along comes ‘wind’. Which, like weather (‘wetter’) is easy enough for an English native. And how der wind does blow around here!

I’ve posted before about the winds when we lived on the French side of Lake Geneva. They can be nasty but also nice.

It seems we’ve done it again — moved to a place that’s just as windy. It’s complicated around here by the looming mountains, and the corridors of lakes in between, around and through which various winds whistle their merry way.

Last week we had a sudden rise in temperatures, from 12 to 25 Celsius in the space of the weekend. Unfortunately this came courtesy of the Foehn, which means ‘hairdryer’ in German. Now this wind is known all over the Alpine region as a hot blast of air that dries everything in its path. Do not be misled: there’s nothing ‘fun’ about it.

Except that around here the wind whips up the lake into such a frenzy that it is quite something to watch. From our apartment we could see the dramatic whitecaps and on Sunday afternoon I found myself going out for a walk to see it up close. And quite a spectacle it was.

There were crashing waves, screeching seabirds and a few brave souls looking ready for lift off. There were little clouds of mist blowing across the water that my phone camera couldn’t capture. The whole thing made me feel like a kid again, when I used to believe that if I ran and jumped high enough, I might just take off.

Sadly I remained grounded.

And the next day, as is its wont, the nasty Foehn brought clouds and rain that lasted all week. Now we need a good cold ‘bise’ to sweep them away.

I suppose I like the wind as it keeps things from getting too dull. Here in conflict-free Switzerland, the wind is refreshing as it stirs things up. In France, it always felt like yet another drama.

How about you: wind or calm?

22 comments

  1. margaret21 · May 14

    Wind. Love it. It’s energising and revitalising. Unless too cold. Wind plus sun, with just a hint of warmth in it then! It seems you might just have found a place with too many kinds of wind 😦

    • MELewis · May 14

      Sounds like we agree. It’s complicated, ja, but I’d rather that than no wind at all!

  2. mistermuse · May 14

    Ach du lieber, vat a groBartig post!

  3. Ally Bean · May 14

    In the last three weeks we’ve had snow and rain and brilliantly clear sunshine and strong winds and total stillness. My mind is all over the place registering what is going on with our weather, and with what to wear when I step outside. ‘Tis the way of spring around here, of course.

    • MELewis · May 15

      That kind of climatic chaos is normal for spring, but when it goes on too long it it is hard on the system. I suppose things must settle down soon. Let’s hope! 🤞

  4. chezperrier · May 14

    I have to admit that I’m not a fan of wind although it has its exceptions. When I was about 12 years old, my best friend and I used our coats as “wings” and jumped from the top of the hill next to her house to literally glide through the air and softly land on the grass. We did it over and over and I’ll never forget how incredibly fun that was!

    As long as it’s not the city or an area with trees that can break, wind with the sun is invigorating. Within a vast landscape or even a boat, it can be absolutely exhilarating.

    On a side note, I am so enjoying your posts and it’s fun to read about your new adventure in Switzerland. I shared it with my English friend who has lived in German-speaking Switzerland for many years.

    • MELewis · May 15

      What a fun memory! There is something exhilarating about the winds around here. I suppose it’s the landscape that makes them so dramatic. Thanks for sharing — and for sharing that you enjoy the posts! Where does your friend live? We are halfway between Lucerne and Zurich in Central Switzerland.

  5. Dale · May 14

    Ich… the soft sound in the back of the throat, so different from the ach in achtung that is rougher. i still remember my two semesters of German, even if what I is left in my memory banks could be held in a mini teacup!
    I am in awe of the view you have RIGH THERE! As for wind, absolutely a mix, please. None when I’m running, thank you, and none when we are sitting around a campfire… but now and again, to see nature in full fury? Yes!

    • MELewis · May 15

      That ‘ach’ sounds so different depending on the word and who is speaking. My husband, whose first language is French but is fairly fluent in German, pronounces like ‘artung’. I wish I’d had even one semester of German in my youth!

      • Dale · May 15

        Don’t know it. It is a gutteral language but not as bad as it’s made out to be, I felt, anyway, as I was learning…

  6. acflory · May 14

    Calm for me! We get a hot north wind in summer [it’s now late autumn], and it always ramps up the danger of bushfires, so I’ve come to hate the wind. Your ‘vint’ looks rather interesting though. 🙂

    • MELewis · May 15

      I’m sure that if there was any risk of the wind heralding fires, I would feel entirely different about it. Do you get real a winter in your parts?

      • acflory · May 16

        Real winter? Hmm…yes and no? At the moment it’s about 6C and much too cold for our liking. That said, we never get snow [except up in the highest mountains] and I’m glad. I visited Hungary in the winter, once. I never want to feel that cold again, ever. 😦

  7. Garfield Hug · May 16

    Watched your video clip and wow -strong winds indeed!

  8. kairosia · May 16

    I read your post as I happen to be looking out onto Belmont Harbor along Lake Michigan in Chicago. The lake is its famously stunning aqua, laced with whitecaps—charming in May, not so much in January.

    Our more regular confrontations with wind occur 2000 miles west, along the northern Pacific coast, where in winter we encounter gusts up to 80 mph. I’m not a fan, except at high tides, when the dramatic waves crashing along shore become a sideshow we can observe safely from inside.

    The flip side of the spectacular Pacific blast is terrifying: sneaker waves that overturn fishing boats and sweep daredevils from rocky viewpoints out to sea. We rarely pass a winter without one or two tragedies, regardless of the rigorous warning systems in place to discourage people from turning their backs to the sea.

    A mixed bag for sure, der wind.

    • MELewis · May 17

      I do remember that nasty midwestern blast so can only imagine it is a cheek slapper in January! The dangers are another story indeed. I love lakes and seas but am very wary of oceans with their tides and undertows. Your Pacific coast must be quite the spectacle. Thanks for sharing an interesting perspective on the winds outre-Atlantique!

  9. roughwighting · May 28

    Fascinating post full of wind – the good kind. Your video is exciting (wind whips up a feeling of excitement to me). I can take a little wind, but I prefer calm – in my weather and in my life. My parents lived in Oklahoma for a while when I was in my 20s (after being raised in the East coast of U.S.) and the wind was disconcerting. Sort of goes with that saying that wind can “blow the cobwebs out of your mind.” Perhaps, but sometimes cobwebs help us catch our thoughts! 🙂

    • MELewis · May 30

      The good kind, ha ha! I know what you mean — too much wind quickly kills the thrill (and I like a few cobwebs myself). But when it’s just right…bliss! Thanks for stopping by. 😎

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