SNP’s word of the day: Chinook

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Word: Chinook

Usage: “Pa, is the Chinook blowing?” – Laura Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie

Definition: A tribe of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest; a warm, wet wind, springing from the same region, named after said people.

You should know it because: Don’t you feel it? If you live almost anywhere in North America, you have woken up this week startled to find that you are not miserable to the bone; that you feel pretty much like living again; you don’t need 600-denier tights. It is spring. In March. It is every reason you need to wake up. And the wind that brings you hope again is called, in North American lore, the Chinook.

The Chinook always comes before the sun. I felt it a week ago; yesterday I got a tan. Tomorrow, in naturally frigid Winnipeg, it will be 20 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. In weather this unseasonable, you don’t even care that the world is definitely ending. Your brain says one thing, but the Chinook blows right through your ribs.