I take a certain pride in keeping our Childcare open no matter how bad the weather is. In ten years we have only closed once, and that was only because an ice-storm completely blocked the roads in town with fallen limbs and entire trees. Even then, I clambered over the mess and was at the farm. There was no power, but you never know how desperate parents may be to drop off their screaming kids. There was no power for nearly two weeks after that terrible storm, but we were open a day later, and a kid did get dropped off. I had to haul water to flush the toilet, and we heated with wood, but that parent worked in a hospital, and I took a certain pride in being able to watch her child as she cared for the ill and wounded. I got an old generator running, and on the second day we watched three children, as people were very busy getting fallen trees cut up and roads cleared. And it continued on from there.
It doesn’t seem that big a deal to me. After all, a farm is a farm. Animals need water and food, and you need to be there. There are always things going wrong, because animals are animals, and you learn to respond quickly to a pig in the neighbor’s roses because it busted through a fence, or what have you. Childcare is just a logical extension of continual chaos.
The government, and also the insurance companies, do not approve. They wish to regulate, and dream up all sorts of regulations which they claim will make us all safer, but which make life harder and harder. In my humble opinion, dealing with a three-hundred-pound, renegade pig is nothing, and dealing with a crippling ice-storm is child’s play, compared to dealing with the political hogs that do not seem to have much interest in serving us, but instead want to rule us.
Mother Nature tends to laugh at them. They can buy all the carbon-credits they want, but she obeys God’s laws. Their laws are about as effective as throwing a virgin into a volcano, and sometimes equally wasteful. She just goes about her business keeping God’s Creation balanced, and if she listens to any prayers at all, they likely aren’t the appeals of priests and shamans, or the ridiculous attempts of imbeciles to control her by buying curly light bulbs and separating their recycled bottles from their recycled cans, but rather are the mournful wishes of small children for snow to sled upon. After all, as an archangel Mother Nature is in tune with God, and I have a hunch God has a soft spot for children.
I think a lot of kids have been hoping for snow recently. I have not shared their hopes, for snow means I have to get to the Childcare before dawn to clear the parking lot and walkways. I tend to be drained before they arrive, and then, where they are joyous about sledding, I have to drag them in sleds. It is especially hard around tax-time, when I also have to deal with a slew of government regulations.
I always wonder what happens in heaven when people pray for opposing things. What happens when the farmer prays for rain the same day the the church prays for sunshine on its annual picnic? Is this what causes tornadoes?
If so, perhaps children praying for snow even as I lift my eyes and beg for rain or drought or oobleck, (anything but snow), may explain why we’ve been slammed by three gales in rapid succession.
Or maybe not. I could offer a meteorological explanation, but some people have hinted they prefer it when my posts avoid that subject. Some flatter me, saying they prefer my poetry, while others are Global Warming Alarmists, who prefer that their belief not be cluttered by facts. In either case, I’m in no mood to annoy them.
The first gale gave people not many miles to our west two feet of heavy, wet snow that stuck to twigs and limbs and brought down trees and knocked out power, while to our east extreme winds brought coastal flooding and blew down trees and knocked out power, but we were in the sweet spot. We got a windy rain and the lights stayed on. The children wondered why others got all the luck, as I thanked my lucky stars.
The second gale made the children happy, and me grouchy. We got a foot of snow. I had to get to the Childcare early as the children slept late. I needed a rest after that one, and actually did manage to take a weekend off, looking at storm damage at the coast (though I should have been doing my taxes.)
Even before I got back I heard rumors of today’s storm. Another foot was on the way. I inwardly moaned, because I hiked too much taking “time off”. (Funny how even a short vacation exhausts even as if refreshes.) But then something odd happened. The first storm seemed to answer my prayers, and the second storm seemed to answer the children’s prayer, but this third storm answered both of our prayers.
I think this coincidence occurred because the government, in its power-mad desire to control and regulate the behavior of the general public, (whom it degrades by thinking the public is incapable of taking care of itself), got a little freaked out by some of the scenarios the weather bureau’s computer-model was printing out. ( The model prints out fifty, and then the “people in charge” usually chose the “average” of all fifty. But sometimes a group of the options are so scary that, even though other options suggest other scenarios, the scary options seem to demand recognition. Yesterday many of the options suggested a strip of the New England coast would get two or three feet of snow whipped by 65 mph winds. [61 to 91 cm of snow with 105 kn winds].
Now, if you think the public is incapable of taking care of itself, then you take the blame if a bunch of them get killed by a bad storm. Therefore a system has been devised to warn people of dire danger. This system rates danger “to life and property” as either “severe”, “moderate”, or (get this) “some”. Yesterday the area of “severe” danger was at the coast, sixty miles away. “Moderate” danger was forty miles away. We were at the very edge of an area of “some” danger. But somehow the presentation was filled with so much hoop-la and hysteria that it freaked parents out. Yesterday parent after parent telephoned to tell us they were keeping their children home. In the end not a child was coming.
Then the storm wasn’t as bad as the more extreme scenarios, (created by the computer model), suggested it might be. However everyone had already decided, and everyone was staying home. There was no reason for me to crawl from bed before dawn and limp over to the Childcare and clear the parking lot and paths. Yippee! I could sleep late along with all the children!
After I condescended to arise I wanted to go out and take pictures of the storm. After all, it might be worth posting about.
Here is a treacherous hill, (where I had to get off the road each time a grinning teenager, rejoicing over the no-school day, drove by.)
And here is a picture of branches burdened by the sticky March snow, which never broke and never knocked out power.
The footprints in the above picture were made by my dog, who insisted upon ruining the pristine snow-scapes I attempted to photograph, by running in front of me, whichever way I faced, and messing up the smooth snow with footprints.
In case you think I was cruel to drag the poor dog out into a life-threatening blizzard, I assure you the dog insisted on coming, and also assure you the dog is a wimp and would make it quite clear if it was the slightest bit uncomfortable. Rather than hinting we should go home, the beast urged me to go further.
All in all, the storm didn’t seem all that bad to me. When I did get around to clearing the parking lots and paths, as the light faded at the end of the day, and the snow slackened, my best guess was that we got 14 inches. The winds, which I’d call more of a strong breeze than a gale, drifted the snow to 18 inches in some places, while eroding the depth to 10 inches in others. The cold wasn’t bad; barely below freezing. No big deal, this far north, in these hills.
In conclusion, what the government succeeded in doing, by assuming the public can’t think for itself, was to take an event that would have been inconvenient, and likely would have reduced production by 50%, and turned it into a 100% reduction of production.
This is all well and good, if you can afford to laze in bed, or wander in the snow and take artsy pictures. However we can’t all afford to be so relaxed. There is something tapping our shoulders when governments become too socialistic, and this something is whispering that our farmer ancestors were wiser. They knew you still had to feed the livestock, blizzard or no blizzard. And the ill and wounded must be cared for in hospitals, blizzard or no blizzard. And some must plow the roads, and some must mend the fallen wires, blizzard or no blizzard. Life goes on, blizzard or no blizzard. Or even, dare I say it, government or no government.
Some like to talk about the “precautionary principle”, wherein we respond to what amounts to a worst case scenario. Many who want to respond to Global Warming are of this camp. To me the precautionary principle seems, at times, to reduce humanity’s potential to a lowest common denominator. It explains why socialism so often is counter-productive, and can lead to nightmares like Venezuela’s. I myself prefer to think better than the worst of my fellow man. Sure, we all have flaws, and on bad days we can behave disgracefully, but we shouldn’t base our lives on our worst. When pressed, we are also capable of better. And Mother Nature isn’t a monster who intends to make us all quail, but rather is a drill sergeant, who kicks us in the butt and makes us surprise ourselves with what we are capable of.
Therefore, though I intended to get through this post without boring those who disdain meteorology, I will post a map of the big gale that, like other big gales of the past, gave us over a foot of snow. It is the Truth, nothing more and nothing less. It is a snapshot of Mother Nature, mysterious to all, and not the exclusive property of the government.
I am aware some will protest that I belittle the government too much, and will point out the above map is in fact made available by the government. My response is that the above map supplies the facts, the current situation. It doesn’t tell us how to interpret the facts. It does not seek to regulate how we respond. It is up to us, as a free people, to look at the given, and forecast for ourselves. And yes, we will listen to those with more experience, when they forecast, but in the end we are responsible for our own actions. If everyone stays home from work, and nothing is accomplished, everyone is responsible for their individual choice. If no one plants, we all starve together, as they are learning in Venezuela.
Some will say I mock the burden authority bears, and will say Global Warming is a forecast bigger than a blown forecast of a snowstorm. I see no difference, and feel some have an overblown sense of responsibility. Today’s snowstorm “might” have been worse, and thousands “might” have died. However thousands “might” have died even if they stayed home. The caprice of Mother Nature is legendary. Those who think they have dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” may discover their abode is in the shadow of a Vesuvius, and is named Pompeii. Or they may be in Japan when a huge tsunami hits. But just because the worst is possible, we can’t hide under our beds because that is the only safe place.
All I can state is what I’ve seen, and I am no whippersnapper. Over and over I’ve found beauty in unlikely situations, where I only expected crap. When I was young this was perhaps more obvious, because hitchhiking was more commonplace, and you could be walking down a road in cold rain one moment, hanging out your thumb, and the next moment you were in a warm car bound for a sunnier place a hundred miles away.
Still, some say those days are past. The present tense is the “worst”. This “worst” is the reality, and I should wake up and see the gravity of the situation. So I try. In today’s horrible storm, where people kept their children home, I sallied forth to plum the gravity of the situation, seeking to snap pictures of how grave it was. But I kept failing. Instead I saw how beautiful it was. Until finally I succeeded. I finally obeyed those who claim I don’t see the gravity of a storm, and found something grave to photograph.
Creator, in the winter of my long life
I tire of men who miss poetry
You have made. Instead they make such a strife
It murks up the waters. They cannot see
What I’ve been singing about since a child
In their murk, and instead insist their murk
Makes it clear. They used to drive me quite wild
With their backwards logic, but now their work
Is revealed to me as Your Invention.
What a Creator you are! What a joke
They are, (butts that do not get the jest),
But I tire of laughing, tire of smoke
And want fire; better’s not the same as Best.
Your creation’s great, but now I wait for
Not more creation, but the Creator.