The blizzard of 2015 brought with it not only record-setting snow but also much-anticipated uncertainty and anxiety. The day before the storm hit, the staples were once again flying off the store shelves. A New England snowstorm has the inexplicable power to make milk and bread instant bestsellers, even with my good friend Annette, who is generally lactose-intolerant and ordinarily on the Protein Plan.
I too stocked up on plenty of bread and a few gallons of milk. I thought I was ready until it was soccer time when my little guy knocked over the glass of milk that seemed to be springing up everywhere. I reached for the roll of paper towel and was rudely greeted by the dreaded, crumpled end piece clinging on to the core for dear life. Surrounded by a sea of milk, I realized frantically that in my urgency to stock the fridge and keep the family well-fed --- lest they should perish -- I had forgotten the other pantry essentials. How does a modern homemaker function without paper towels -- I regretfully pondered? I am not a treehugger when it comes to the thicker, quicker, picker-upper and so here I was utterly helpless and lost without it. Oh how mad I was with the governor for banning me from driving that night!
The snow had started falling in full force and was already, eerily beautiful. Father Superintendent had called off school (and work) for the next day and if Mother Nature had her way, perhaps the following day too would be recklessly carefree. I was on top of the world and nothing was going to bring me down --- not even the naked cardboard roll. Determined not to cry over spilled milk, I put the sleeves of carbs to good use and tested the hearty bread's age-old reputation of being a super sopper; it worked like a charm and I finished the job with squares of neatly layered quilted bath tissues. The floor was squeaky clean and bone-dry but suddenly I realized that we were now running low on toilet paper as well. Oh well!
Tuesday morning was spent making mindless wise cracks on social media sites and following "friends" who each had a common agenda -- discontent. Some complained of too much snow, some of too much sunshine, some of too much shoveling, others of too little plowing, some of too little libations and others- too much hangover. Some condemned others to hell while some bestowed others with all of heaven's blessings; it was a social media circus and I, the clown, watched from the sidelines providing occasional comic relief, mostly to myself.
Why couldn't I just stay away from this frenzy -- you ask? Well- do you know how hard it is to fight an addiction -- especially one that is cheap and readily available? When the Internet began to misbehave I started having serious withdrawals and felt utterly worthless when it suddenly left me high and dry. Later I would realize that it was a real blessing that this controlling relationship that I have been in for a very long time, had suddenly ended for it made me strong and forced me to do things that I had forgotten I was capable of doing. I spent the day cleaning out my closet, reorganizing my jewelry, finding hidden treasures (including rolls of paper towels), baking brownies, devouring brownies, doing laundry, making meals from scratch and engaging in a myriad of ordinary chores, each of which regularly takes about a day from start to finish. My favorite activity, I must confess, was the simple act of picking up the phone and having a real conversation with those I had not connected with in days (alright -- months). That night as I lay in bed tired but happy, I sadly concluded, once again, that the reason no one, including myself, has time anymore for meaningful relationships is because of our cyber relationships and what we choose to do with our time in an unreal world. The power of the storm had taught me a lesson that I promised to remember.
The next day I was happy to have my off-again/on-again relationship back so I could dish out unwarranted wisdom to those who did not care. Armed with my newfound knowledge I did not engage in such frivolities from dawn till dusk; this time it was restrained.
As the blizzard came to an end and I managed to once again shovel my way out of an insurmountable mess of snow and slush, I was filled with gratitude as I looked back at the events of the past two days. So what if Mother Nature had managed to dump 3 feet of snow on us, so what if we had been somewhat inconvenienced, so what if life -- as we know it -- had ceased to exist for a bit? I quickly realized how lucky we are to live in a place where nature's fury forces us to take a break from work and condemns us to the comforts of our homes; how fortunate we are to be caught in a storm that gives us ample warning to prepare and be safe, and when all is said and done, leaves in its wake breathtaking beauty; how fortunate we are that a gentle giant (not a monster storm) forces kids with no care in the world (and no homework) to run around aimlessly and play together; how blessed we are to be never alone even in the middle of the severest storms for we can count on our heroes in red and blue to show up at our doorstep with the touch of a button, but most of all how privileged we are that a young man refuses to cower down to the wrath of nature and pays homage to his beloved city and its brave denizens through a simple, selfless gesture. By humbly shoveling the finish line, he guaranteed that the indomitable spirit of the sacred city is furiously alive in the midst of the fiercest storm and succeeded in instilling pride in the heart of every New Englander. He reminded us to "Never Forget" even when there is a furious storm raging. So next time a storm hits, I promise not to focus on the petty pleasures that make life convenient but on the selfless things that make life worthwhile. The harshest New England conditions have the enormous potential to bring out the best in people -- let's do our part. And once again, with another major storm brewing, I am proud to sing out loud and clear, "Boston -- You're my Home"!