The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mother Nature Reminds Us We Are Small ... The Five Minute Response

We tool making creatures with the big brains, culture, and massive technology often think we are really hot stuff. We thump our chests and bellow that we are the top of the food chain and soon will control the weather and conquer death itself! We are mighty.

Mother Nature rolls her eyes and sends us a snowstorm. The US northeast was hit with a larger snowstorm than expected yesterday. With it came all sorts of reminders that we, the mighty tool makers, may not be quite as powerful as we think. Our 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds cars were reduced to a crawl. A 20 minute drive took close to an hour and lots of maneuvering through back roads, testing ones knowledge of the highways and byways of the area as four wheel drive and two wheel drive were reduced to the same slow crawl.

We the big-brained builders of culture and metropolises had to close down all our meetings, decide not to shop (except for bread and toilet paper), and hunkered down to wait it out. We in our neck of the white-coated woods were grateful the power stayed on and watched the local football team play a snow bowl.

Then there's what happened to all our sophisticated mass transit options. Airlines cancelled flights right and left. Train service was reduced to a crawl. I have no idea how shipping on rivers and in harbors fared, but I imagine it wasn't much fun.

All the while, the natural world outside reminded us we aren't entirely masters of our fate and the mighty powers of the world (much less the universe) that we imagine ourselves to be when things are going our way.

On a positive note, during the crisis as two major accidents with huge numbers of cars occurred in the surprise storm, people banded together to help one another. I wonder if Mother Nature wasn't trying to remind us of where our true strength and quality lies, in our ability to have empathy for others and to offer a helping hand when times get tough.

Now to prepare for the crawl to work in rainy, icy conditions.

That's the five minute response.

Update: 12/10/13:

A colleague of mine, a day after the storm, had his train ride from the city to the office, usually an hour long, extended to a three hour adventure full of sagging overhead power lines, frozen switches, and icy rails.

Here we go again, Tuesday at 7:20 AM as predicted


Today, schools have closed preemptively awaiting the next six or more inches of snow predicted to fall this morning. Oh, joy! Now, at 7:20 AM the snow has begun on cue ... again. Of course, I was amused when even NPR's local station got into the excitement and intoned ominously that we'd get "half a foot" of snow! Yeah, six inches ... enough to temporarily screw up everything involving technological locomotion ... but hardly the next Ice Age. Drive carefully out there folks. Let's have no more deaths out there today, okay, please.


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