Total Airhead

Elemental joy in the Oregon breeze

By Hilary Berg

The feel of wind remains one of my favorite sensations. Such a small pleasure but all the same invigorating.

Air equals life. Without it, we humans “got nothing.” Yet the element’s life of its own is what blows me over: In one moment, the atmosphere feels still; the next, a gust whips around, all the while invisible to the eye, like a ghost.

Although it feels magical, I realize this is a matter of science. According to As the sun warms the earth’s surface, the atmosphere warms, too. Some parts of Earth receive direct rays from the sun all year and are always warm. Other places receive indirect rays, so the climate is colder. Warm air, which weighs less than cold air, rises. Then, cool air moves in and replaces the rising warm air. This movement of air is what makes the wind blow. How many of you knew that? I’ll admit, I never learned this in school.

Just I as savor the wind, so do wine grapes. Air movement is essential for vines and fruit to remain healthy, helping protect against disease and rot.

If grapes could talk, they might also pontificate on their love of the element, but their reliance on sun and land are just as essential. Fire, not so much. Frank was right: “Fire bad!”

So, why on earth am I talking about air in my letter?

Blame the cover story on the Willamette Riverkepper Pinot Paddle adventure. As I edited the story by Tamara Belgard and looked over the gorgeous photos by Kathryn Elsesser, I should have been inspired by the water, but it was the invisible element that made me wish I’d joined the journey.

The breeze as the boaters skated over the water. The wind in the trees as participants relished their well-deserved gourmet dinner on the banks. The rustling of tents from air moving around the campsite. The birds riding wind currents through the sky and entertaining the nature-loving group.

I’ve always loved wind. And now I’ve had the pleasure to explain why. Thank you for indulging me. Besides, coming up with new subjects to write about every month is not exactly a breeze. Cheers!



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