too much typing—since 2003


a mighty wind

Dictionaries are dangerous and addictive for me: I look up one thing, and find myself wandering from cross-reference to cross-reference, or just randomly, curious about odd words or their etymologies. (I'm intrigued by the concept of distraction - so's this famous guy.) Every once in a while, though, I'll discover something more lasting (one of which is found in the URL of this site), such as the entry in an addition of a Merriam-Webster dictionary defining the Beaufort Wind Scale, which characterizes wind velocity in terms of the phenomena the wind causes. It actually has two registers, one for sea and one for land, but the land scale fascinates me as a superlative example of accidental poetry. (I used it in the "quiz" I made a few days back as well.) Here it is (each line designates a wind force ranging from 0 through 10):

Calm, smoke rises vertically
Smoke drift indicates wind direction, still wind vanes
Wind felt on face, leaves rustle, vanes begin to move
Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended
Dust, leaves, and loose paper lifted, small tree branches move
Small trees in leaf begin to sway
Larger tree branches moving, whistling in wires
Whole trees moving, umbrellas are used with difficulty
Whole trees in motion, difficulty walking against the wind
Slight structural damage occurs, chimney-pots and slate removed
Seldom experienced on land, trees are broken and uprooted

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