Not Again!

Our View: The Prospect Of Even More Snow May Seem Like Too Much To Bear, But Times Like These Remind Us Of Simple Pleasures And The Meaning Of Community

February 09, 2010

Plagued though he was by misfortune of (literally) biblical proportions, even the long-suffering Job never had to contend with the prospect of back-to-back to snowstorms such as Baltimore faces this week. After dumping almost three feet of frozen precipitation around the metro region over the weekend, forecasters say the heavens are set to open again Tuesday with at least another five or six inches, maybe more. That hardly seems fair.

Deniers of global warming are apt to look at the deluge as proof that climate change is a hoax, as if scientists weren't talking about a gradual increase in average temperatures but a new weather system in which it would be 70 degrees out in January. At times like this, though, you almost wish that caricature were true. One of the worst storms in memory to hit the metro area is about to be followed by yet another snowfall of the sort that ordinarily wreaks just the normal havoc on our road, rail and air transportation network. But while it looks like the city is in for a double-whammy that may take us the rest of the week to recover from, Baltimoreans are always up to a challenge. And that may be the kindest way of putting what we'll be up against for the next few days.

With side roads still clogged with snow and ice slush and major arteries functioning well below normal, we'll need all the patience, hard work and good cheer we can muster to surmount the difficulties and inconvenience these storms are bringing. That - along with a mindfulness that spring, however distant it now seems, eventually will arrive is the only way to get through this with bodies and souls reasonably safe and intact.

Schools around the area likely will be closed again, as will many workplaces. But the misery outside may also provide opportunities to curl up with a good book or in front of the TV, or enjoy some quality face time with family and friends. Most people already have stocked up on food and other essentials, so stay at home and avoid the roads if at all possible.

Likewise, in the days ahead we're sure to hear stories about the good deeds some people perform - be they family and friends or perfect strangers - as they lend a hand to keep life up and running. Communities will again come together to dig out cars and shovel driveways, alleys and side streets. People will cheerfully run errands for elderly neighbors, or offer stranded commuters a lift. This storm will provide many opportunities for small acts of kindness.

Just as surely, of course, there will be people who misbehave, who act inconsiderately or think only of their own comfort and security. They are jerks, but suffer them with equanimity. Not for nothing did Job keep his faith, and he was rewarded for it.

Above all, remember that we're all in this together, and how we fare will have as much to do with how we treat each other as with how we ourselves are treated. The times will test the bonds of community we have forged, and we should make it our business not to let each other down.

Hard as it may be to imagine as our region struggles out from under its blanket of white, no matter how unpredictable this winter has been, it will, like all winters before it, eventually come to an end and take the deluge of snow that is tormenting us away with it.

Readers respond

I think it would be informative to your readers to rate snow clearing by county in this state. Why are some residents able to get to work, while others cannot because their street hasn't yet seen a snow plow?

I think that would be a good report card to provide to voters in this state as we come up to elections.

Fran Karns, Severna Park

This notion of all this snow adding on days to the end of the school year is absurd. The value is obvious if days off were eliminated in March or April, when students are preparing for tests and assessments. But to add on days to the June schedule when kids' attention is already on summer vacation and anything learned will soon be forgotten just seems a waste of resources. Teach the kids while you have them, but leave them a decent summer to re-energize for next year.

Ralph Watson, Severna Park

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