SNOWSTORM OF 2012

Avatar_DavidBentley The snow finally came, with reports of up to 8 inches on parts of the island. Most people stayed home or ventured out only on foot. It was nice for several days. Schools closed, and students headed for the hills with sleds in tow. Through sub-freezing temperatures, road crews continued sanding and plowing. Businesses used front-end loaders to clear parking lots. People worked to keep sidewalks walkable. Mostly, it was just very quiet and peaceful. Then everything changed.

For the first time in days, the temperature rose above freezing. By mid-morning the snow and ice had begun to melt. An onslaught of vehicular traffic turned road ice into slush. Sidewalks became slippery as melting snow revealed the now wet ice underneath. Walls of water as high as 3-4 feet drenched unsuspecting pedestrians as cars and trucks rushed toward undisclosed destinations. The sludge that missed pedestrians laid dark streaks across the remaining, white snow. Things were getting ugly.

The sounds of engines and sirens replaced the quietude of the previous several days. The former calm gave way to a sense of urgency. The post office hadn’t been so busy since Christmas. Suddenly stores, restaurants, and bars no longer looked like parts of a frozen ghost town. People were everywhere, greeting each other with hugs and smiles and animatedly sharing stories; and no one was complaining about prices or missed income. People were genuinely happy to escape their forced isolation and reconnect with other human beings. And as difficult as it may be to believe, most were even happy to return to their everyday routines.

What I realized, as I watched all this activity, is that despite all our MP3 players and smart phones and laptops and tablets and camming devices and thousands of apps, people still need to physically be with each other. For this continued need, and the end of snow-induced isolation, I am truly thankful.

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About David Bentley

Avatar_DavidBentleyDavid Bentley, M.Ed., is an avid observer of people, places and events. He uses his storytelling and questioning skills to help himself and others think outside the box in an ever-changing world.

Comments about his column can be sent to davidbentley@sanjuanislander.com

© 2014 David Bentley