February 16, 2007

Be Nice To Mother

An interesting conversation with another attorney at the firm. We mused that the weather is something that people are normally very cavalier about. We puny humans like to delude ourselves that we’re pretty much in control of what’s going on. Sure, there’s rainstorms and things like that, but people typically just go in their houses, or turn on their lights and windshield wipers, and go on about their business with only minor inconveniences.

Now, this other attorney grew up in Bishop, and notes that there has been very little snowfall in the eastern Sierras this year. That means not a lot of skiing going on at Mammoth or June Lakes, and that the streams will run dry and the lakes will lie low in the summer. Unless some more snow gets dumped up there in the next two weeks or so, this will have a devastating effect on the tourism-based economy of the region (there is some agriculture, too, which will also be hurting).

But from time to time, Mother Nature reminds us of who’s really in charge. We are so powerless against the forces of nature that it’s frightening to contemplate. We’ve been getting a lot of those reminders recently, and pretty close to home, too. The destruction of New Orleans. Three weeks of driving cold and feet of snow dumped on the Midwest and the Atlantic Seaboard. Droughts, like what the Eastern Sierra is getting right now. These things remind us that much of our pride and confidence is just so much hubris, and that we should remember to be more grateful when nature’s largesse is bestowed upon us. To really contemplate the power that nature has over us, rather than the other way around, is an awe-inspiring and terrifying exercise.

Today it’s seventy-two degrees and the sky is a brilliant, pale blue with no clouds at all and a mild, pleasant breeze. The eastern horizon is forty miles away, far enough that it’s literally the Earth curving away from my point of perspective that’s cutting off my view. This is wonderful weather, especially for the middle of February. And I feel fortunate to be in it.

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