Snow, go home!

In the war of technology vs. snow, snow wins

I hate snow.

There. I’ve said it. Whatever tiny joy was leftover from my childhood at seeing the white stuff start to come down and the dreams of a day off from school, sled races with friends, building snowmen, throwing snowballs, making snow angels, building huge snow forts … is gone from me. It’s cold and dead, like this winter season.

That tiny vestige died in the chilly morning air as an ice waterfall formed inside my picture window and dumped its frigid contents over me. The roof got dammed up with ice (as did the roofs of every neighbor I could see through the blizzard) and despite my best efforts, I couldn’t clear enough of it in time. Now with a solid dam of ice that would make any beaver proud, water is pooling up behind it and seeping into my window, down through my roof.

I’m humbled by the fact that despite our mastery of technology, we are still at the mercy of the elements and Mother Nature.

Oh, our technology is cool. We can watch the snow pushing past us from our satellites high in space. And we can Twitter and Facebook one another to muster for a snowball battle in the middle of the city. And we can even provide power for everything from our desktop computers to the space shuttle, even if the main lines go down.

But don’t fool yourself. We can’t beat Mother Nature. Are we really any better off today than the hapless man trying to build a fire in Jack London’s famous tale?

Natural disasters like when Hurricane Katrina swallowed New Orleans or the ground shook Haiti to its foundations should give us all pause with the knowledge that we aren’t the masters of the world we think we are.

In the grand scheme of things, the back to back blizzards aren’t so bad. I’ll certainly survive. I’ve already called my insurance agent and got the wheels turning in terms of repair. We’ll all dig out, make repairs as necessary, and get back to work eventually.

But this storm is a good reminder at how small we really are in the world, or the universe for that matter. "We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far," H.P. Lovecraft wrote in 1926, in his legendary short story "The Call Of Cthulhu." And despite all our achievements, the same really is true today.

I hope everyone stays safe in this storm, and that the only casualty is my childhood dreams of winter wonderlands.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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Reader Comments

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 James Reeves

Hey, but you've just made the case for why we should love snow. It humbles us, tones down our Hubris -- and maybe makes us appreciate a little more what Katrina and the Haiti earthquake really were, compared with our tiny inconveniences -- and that's a good thing to remember. The two storms constitute a benevolent and ultimately affirming reminder of our place in the scheme of things. Of course that's easy for me to say, because I still love snow regardless of all that.

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 Allen DC

I think you're onto something. Perhaps we can get congress to agree on something for once. Outlaw snow!

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 Hope Jones New Jersey

I feel for you, man! It's just as bad up here. And you can't do much about ice daming. One thing though -- this terrible weather makes for a perfect excuse to go back and read all those H.P. Lovecraft tales. Or some of his lessor known poetry. Yule Horror
by H. P. Lovecraft

There is snow on the ground,
And the valleys are cold,
And a midnight profound
Blackly squats o'er the wold;
But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feastings un- hallowed and old.

There is death in the clouds,
There is fear in the night,
For the dead in their shrouds
Hail the sin's turning flight.
And chant wild in the woods as they dance round a Yule- altar fungous and white.

To no gale of Earth's kind
Sways the forest of oak,
Where the sick boughs entwined
By mad mistletoes choke,
For these pow'rs are the pow'rs of the dark, from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.

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