It’s 8:30 a.m., Sunday morning. The temperature is around 40 degrees and everything is wet outside. It rained pretty good last night in California’s Central Valley, which means it snowed pretty good in the Sierras. I love the snow. I always have. It has an ethereal quality. Everything looks fresh and pristine when covered by a fresh blanket of snow. A foot or two of new snow has a quieting effect… Everything is brand new.
There are numerous web cams in the mountains. In the winter, especially during or just after a storm, I’ll check some just to see what I am missing out on living well below the snow line. Even though this is a cold storm and the snow level came down below 2000 feet last night, it is still about 1500 feet above me. I miss living in the mountains – I miss almost everything about it. What I miss the most, however, is the snow.
The winter snows provide a variety of practical benefits. The snow pack represents the water reserves for much of California. It’s like an annual savings account for the state’s summer water needs. This year, we’re going to be all right. It provides any number of winter sports opportunities and the associated tourism. Although the income from tourism drives the local economy, anyone who has lived in a tourist town can attest to the headaches that come with those dollars.
The snow does more than ensure water, generate income or give those winter sports enthusiasts a place to spend their money. It is an attitude. It is Mother Nature taking over and showing us just how insignificant we are. Despite the more than competent efforts of those professionals who deal with the ramifications of every big storm that passes through, there comes a point where the best they can do is wait.
The snow is a great equalizer. It affects everyone in much the same way. It is paralyzing, calming, quieting – it squelches any real movement, it slows everything down. This does not sit well with everyone, especially those who are not used to it. The tourists that come up from the Central and Silicon Valley – the “flatlanders” – are not used to being still. It’s all go go go, and many can find no peace. The moment is passing them by, for if not sufficiently respected and appreciated, the snow is nothing more than just another pain in the...
I think that many of us tend to forget that, as advanced as we are, there is so much greater power than we can even hope to duplicate or control. If a blizzard doesn’t do it for you, try the ocean, especially during a storm. Its power is simply awesome. Try to stop a wave – think of anything that can? When push comes to shove, Mother Nature always wins. Always.
Many of the various natural phenomena are referred to as natural disasters. I beg to differ. They are only disasters when we are in the way. Yes, they’re disasters – human disasters and heart wrenching in that respect, but the planet is simply doing what it is designed to do. And we can’t stop it. And no… God is not punishing anyone. When the planet was formed, it was a very inhospitable place. Through it’s changes over billions of years, it has evolved into a place that not only supports life, but allows it to thrive. Who are we to fight it?