In search of ponies: Animals have own ways of dealing with wind

Since the dawn of man, spring has been celebrated, often because it’s a pleasant exit from winter and also because it is the season that represents life’s potential.

In between the intermittent cold and warm spells, green shoots sprout from little dried up bits of plants that nature seemed to have discarded in the cold of winter and dried bits of grass and shreds of trash once hidden by snow are scavenged to build nests.

Life starts to buzz again, the air and ground become host to a flurry of activity in anticipation of the babies that will be coming soon. The earth begins its process too with cool drizzles that wash away the gloom of past months and longer days of sun give a hint of warmth to the air.

All of it converges to introduce the reality of the season whose memory got you through the brutal cold and short dark days of winter.

Unless, of course, you live on the High Plains.

Sure, just like everyone else around the country, we’re running stuffy-headed to the corner drug store for antihistamines, but not because of the rising pollen count.

Oh no … for us it’s got a little more to do with the brown air that swirls around us as we fight to keep our vehicle doors from bashing into the vehicle beside us at the grocery.

And the fact that somehow in the two minutes it took you to get inside the store — head tucked toward the ground, torso angled forward — you managed to inhale a sampling of all the real estate in town and possibly a bit of Texas too.

Yep, wind. That’s our reward for completing another winter.

While people in other areas lay down big bucks at the spa for microdermabrasion treatments so they can sport their summer wardrobes, we all know that nothing quite sloughs and freshens the skin like a 60 mph dirt storm.

Somehow Mother Nature still pulls of the spring miracle anyway, with this being one of the rare places on earth where birds master the art of flying backwards, still managing to build their nests in time to make hatching day.

In fact, we are not alone, and animals in lands across the world — arctic, tundra, alpine and desert biomes share our woes — have unique ways of dealing with overpowering wind.

• Elephants are known to face downward on windy days and extend their ears to cool hot arteries in their ears.

• Camels can open and close their noses so they don’t suck in the geography and they have long luxurious lashes, not only because they make for great “come hither” glances across the desert, but because they also keep the sand out.

• Groups of 6,000 or more penguins have been known to huddle together to shield en mass against up to 125 mph arctic winds.

• Coastal critters protect themselves from being battered by wind and washed away by the resulting waves by clinging onto rocks and other items.

• The horse-sized arctic Musk oxen lies down in high winds facing their backs toward the wind.

• The Portuguese Man-of-War actually does little fighting and sails across the sea, ending up where ever the wind takes it.

• The desert addax digs out depressions near boulders and hunkers down.

• While resting, flamingos actually face the wind and, as only true yoga masters could do, sway while they sleep.

Well, if they can survive the wind, we can too.

So put on thick mascara, huddle with pals, hunker down, grab onto something that won’t blow away, take a nap on one leg and sway, put your back into it, sail to far off lands, or if all else fails, make like a tumble weed and just roll with it.