Vancouver may be having difficulties with insufficient snow for its Olympic ski slopes, but in Lancaster in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania, sufficient snow is not a problem. In a five day period we had over 40 inches. Four more inches and we will hit the record winter season snowfall for the county of 82 inches. This is the view from my living room window last Thursday.
Having lived for more than 25 years in the Great Lakes snow belt in northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana, I am no stranger to snow. But for my fellow citizens in this area, this is easily the snow of the century. Business closed, schools cancelled, churches did not meet, public transportation did not run. Our local news station WGAL had several days of nonstop coverage rivaling CNN’s schedule in Haiti right after the quake. My wife, who loves snow, just reveled in the opportunity to cocoon–curling up with a good book and watching the snowfall mount through the window.
I knocked off from work early before the first 24 inch storm, first experiencing the madness and mayhem of a supermarket on the Friday before a snowstorm and the Superbowl. A lot of money changed hands and a lot of milk, bread, and snacks went out the door. Then on to the drug store to get a prescription that would be needed precisely when I would be snowed in, followed by an impulse trip to another grocery and to Blockbuster. The storm had not even begun but people were driving with super caution as if they might have a major accident at every intersection or else slowed because they were constantly on their cell phones telling people how crazy it was. The gridlock certainly raised my blood pressure and aggravated my temper. I was very glad to get in the door of my house. “I am not leaving until tomorrow!” was my announcement.
There is something about a snowstorm that reminds us of how little control we really have over the universe. We have to stop everything, and that often is a reminder of our incredible busyness as we have to accept that we are going to slow down and settle in whether we like it or not. There is something that reminds us that being prepared for these interruptions is a wise thing. (I really would hate to be snowbound and run out of my comfort food at the same time.)
And there is something about a snowstorm that reminds us to savor the beauty. A fresh, unblemished landscape in all its serenity and symmetry can bring great peace to the human spirit. Sort of like the Holy Spirit when it touches our life and blots out all the gray and grime of our accumulating sin.
Actually, I managed to enjoy both storms – plenty of food, a warm house, a great wife–and my cable TV didn’t go out.