The Stillness of New-Fallen Snow

The trees fell down last October.

We had this really freak snowstorm that dumped two feet of snow while the leaves were still green and on the trees.  The trees couldn’t take the accumulated weight and throughout the night limbs came crashing down along with the power lines.  Although all of Buffalo and the surrounding suburbs saw significant damage, the hardest-hit areas were those with the oldest and grandest foliage.  Those canopied streets are gone now, and whole neighborhoods have a different complexion.

It was a wonderful and revealing experience.  For me, the best part of the whole thing was the silence to which I awoke the following morning.  You get accustomed to the hum of the refrigerator motor, the furnace, the fluorescent lights and all fans that run on AC – that hum pervades the space around us.  Once the power failed it looked and felt like a different world.  I know that I could survive in it should the need ever arise, but I wonder how many others would see it as an opportunity rather than a disaster.

Survival is a funny thing.  As a society we would panic if the things we take for granted – electricity, water, fuel, food – were to fail us.  Other parts of the world without these basics can function as if it were just another day, less refined than ours perhaps, but usually survivable.  We’re so spoiled.

Every American needs to spend time in a third-world country, so that we can appreciate what we have and to help prepare us for when we inevitably become part of the third world.

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