• Jane Wheeler

Wind Stories


I do not believe I have shared my “wind” stories with you.


I am currently sitting inside the holiday trailer with the wind literally whipping around outside. The trees are furiously blowing and bowing in every direction, the noise of the trees is so loud as the millions of leaves join together in chorus. The tent gazebo is straining on it’s strings and ties trying to break free. Last week I watched as one of the legs of the gazebo lifted off the ground and attempted to smash into the trailer window. I had run outside and tied it twice more and then Brian retied it and it seems to be holding. I was trying to sit outside tonight but I was so uncomfortable that I needed to come in. Mocha shifts from outside to inside, she cannot decide just where to be on this billowy day.


Wind can make me uncomfortable for a couple of reasons: I have been in 2 tornados and sometimes the sound and sights of a good “wind” storm can be enough for me to go and keep myself occupied elsewhere.


The first time I was in a tornado was in Salmon Arm, BC. Ray, my youngest was just a baby, like in a snuggly on my stomach and that would make Glen 5 years old and Gord 2.5 years old, the year was 1989. We were camping out at Heralds Park and a furious wind came up, I decided to take the boys down to the water to watch the wind blow the waves around. I thought it would be fun, how wrong I was.


As we walked through the trails in the forest down towards the beach it was horrifying as the wind turned deadly and even over the roar of the wind, I started to hear the huge loud snapping sounds of trees breaking off in all directions and not know which tree was broken or where it was going to fall. I had no idea which way to tell the boys to go and they were so little. I panicked and quickly steered the boys back to the campsite praying for mercy that we would not get squished under a tree. Just as we reached the campsite, my husband was still setting up camp because we had only just arrived, a tree snapped and fell on the trailer camped in the site beside us (there was no one in it).


“Get under the truck!” my husband yelled at us. We complied and lay under the truck (Ray had to come out of the snuggly) watching and waiting to see what would happen.


A park ranger pulled up and yelled at us to leave the campsite, they were evacuating all people because to be in the trees was imminent danger. We loaded up in the truck and drove towards the exit only to find a line of vehicles waiting because at that moment 3 trees were down across the road, barring any exit. The rangers equipped with chain saws quickly cleared the road and out we went.


We had to drive along the shores of Shuswap Lake and the wind was picking up the water and tossing it here and there making 12 foot swells, it was a sight to behold.


We drove past a hydro pole on fire because some trees had shorted it out when they fell across it. We were not sure where to go but decided to go home and check on the yard to see if anything had been damaged. On the way there we viewed garbage, trees and stuff strewn all over.


Upon arriving at home we saw a neighbors bbq that had hopped the fence and various items tossed and discarded around the yard. When we listened to the news it said that Environment Canada stated that a mini tornado had indeed touched down that day. We were able to resume camping later that day after the storm died down.


That storm scared me to the point that anytime a windstorm came up, I would shut the curtains so I could not see the trees bending and swaying just waiting for them to break off and come down. It would be a few years before I was comfortable again in a windstorm.


Fast forward to July 2004, the first week I moved to Grande Prairie.

CBC News · Posted: Jul 09, 2004 12:08 PM ET | Last Updated: July 9, 2004

“The cleanup continued on Friday in Grande Prairie, Alta., after a tornado rocked cars and tore off buildings' doors, windows and roof shingles.

The storm, which rolled through the city's downtown at about 3:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, also knocked over a power line, started at least one small fire at a hotel and toppled a big Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket from its pole in front of the fast-food restaurant.

Nobody was injured in the city of 40,000 people northwest of Edmonton…”


It was to become the first time a tornado touched down in Grande Prairie and I was here for the event. I was at work and the wind was more than blustery. Two of my staff yelled as they saw a wind something touch down across the street from the store, I had turned away momentarily and missed it. The sign across the street had come down and the power went out.


We waited to see what would happen and realized that no one was driving out on the roads. I sent the staff home and I stayed at the store for a while until I learned that the police had cordoned a section of downtown off because there was so much garbage lining the road, the after affects of a tornado.


On my way home I had to drive through no power, no traffic lights, a huge Kentucky Fried Chicken barrel that used to be up in the air. Vehicle debris, signs, garbage and all kinds of paraphernalia lined the roads. The drive home was more like an obstacle course than anything else. I cried on the way because it was so surreal, and I felt so alone and so scared.


When I finally got home, I thought to myself sarcastically – “welcome to Grande Prairie! This is going to be good!” I envisioned that I had moved to tornado alley. I did not know it had never happened before.


Forces of nature, acts of God as insurance companies sometimes call them, whatever you call them they let you know you are not in control. The force of a windstorm, a tornado and even a hurricane can cause utter damage and hopelessness as you realize you and often your surroundings are not able to withstand the force behind the wind gusts. You are helpless to watch and hope that everything you “battened down” will hold.


Sometimes people have to hide in cellars under the house, in the ground, and wait and listen to the howl, the furiousness of the wind sucks up everything in it’s path, like a big evil monster devouring the landscape on its way by.


There is a story in the Bible of a storm. It was a furious storm that scared even seasoned fishermen, men who had been around the water most of their life. The roar of the wind was deafening out in the boat, the boat was being tossed about like it had no weight to it, a toy adrift on the water except the water was no longer friendly, it was fierce and mean. The water picked up from the wind and the waves crashing into the little fishing boat was swamping the boat. The fishermen were sure they were going to die and feared for their lives.


They were so afraid and yet there was one in the boat who was not afraid. In fact, He was asleep in the boat having an amazing sleep oblivious to the noise and water that surrounded Him.


The fishermen woke Him up with terror and fear lining their voices, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Matthew 8:23-27 (also see Mark 4:38-40).


“Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be

still!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm.”


The disciples were amazed that even the wind and the waves obeyed Him. With one command – Jesus stopped the forces of nature.


God often has to ask me the question, “Do you fear the Creator or the Created?” It is a question I truly have to think through on many, many occasions. I know what the ‘right’ answer should be but as I sit feeling the trailer literally shaking and swaying I have to force my thinking to the Creator and know that He and He only can calm the storm, any storm. Storms that swirl inside of me when life is crazy and does not seem to make sense and storms swirling around me on the outside and like Jesus, I do not need to fear for I know the One who calms the storm.








45 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All