Artistic eyes on prevailing wind

Wind Clip ArtI “studied” wind for several hours this week. Rudimentarily speaking, that is. What’s an artist residency without a bit of observational research?

During spring and summer, prevailing winds here at PCEI are said to be west to southwest. Sensing frequent changes in wind speed and direction, I devised some informal ground truthing. I tore strips of old sheets into long streamers, attached them to a dozen stakes and scattered the stakes across a hill above the pond. Then I sat and watched.

Here’s what I saw:  the streamers blew harmoniously—until they didn’t.

Streamers would abruptly shift direction, behaving independently of each other and wildly curlicue every which way. Then back into the flow they would go, except there was always a couple streamers out of sync at any given moment. Time of day, specifically early to late afternoon, produced the most erratic behavior.

Predictability doesn’t seem to rule here.

I wonder if there are such things as micro bursts or mini thermals? Maybe hillsides are more prone to shifting wind currents? Since ground temperatures affect air temperature, so maybe slope affects how the wind blows?

If I was scientifically inclined—but I’m not—I would dig harder to find answers. But—alas—my  tendency is—always has been—to look to metaphor for artistic sustenance rather than science. The hula dancing of air molecules present a poetic reminder of the vitality of nature, and its systemic predisposition toward flux and chaos. My feeble proof notwithstanding.