Gente que Cuenta

by Leonor Henríquez

Chinook Atril press 1
“Warm breeze on the frozen prairie.” Donovan Seidle/ composer

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      Here in Calgary, during our long winters, one does not ask, like in Venezuela, Saint Isidore the Laborer, to take away the water and set the sun.

One asks Saint Chinook to eat the snow.

Chinook is a word that comes from our First Nations, the Blackfoot or Chehalis (Tsinúk), and refers to winds called “snow eaters”.

It is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs on the West coast of North America. In the case of Canada, it is a warm, dry wind that blows over the Rocky Mountains and descends through its foothills in the winter, forming a miraculous arc on the horizon that warms our city (temperatures rise from – 35°C to +15°C) and our hearts.

This is the scientific explanation.

I liked much better the version offered by a String Ensemble.

I closed my eyes and could see a long, blue note that reminded me of the sky.

Sea arpeggios hitting the Pacific coast.

Pizzicatos resembling the wind fermenting in the hills, and then climbing the vertiginous cliffs with violin bow strokes.

The diaphanous notes of the basses, caressing the grass of the meadows.

Then, the miracle, the allegro maestoso, that produces a massive arch above the diadem, that platinum crown that adorns the skyline of our city.

With the last notes, I could feel the warm breeze of the Chinook on my skin and my soul.

I opened my eyes.

The applause and standing ovation did not wait to thank for this magnificent piece of music, Chinook, by Donovan Seidle, a young composer, violinist and arranger from our beautiful city.

Although we are now in summer, when the icy winter returns to our prairies, after this musical delight, I will have much more devotion to Saint Chinook, the snow eater.

www.atril .press Leonor Henríquez e1670869356570

Leonor Henríquez (Caracas, Venezuela) Civil Engineer by training (UCAB 1985), writer and apprentice poet by vocation. From her time in engineering emerged her Office Stories (1997), another way of seeing the corporate world. Her latest publications include reflections on grief, Hopecrumbs (2020) ( and “The Adventures of Chispita” (2021) ( an allegory of life inside Mom’s belly.
Today she shares her “impulsive meditations” from Calgary, Canada, where she lives.

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