About two weeks ago in Birmingham, Alabama, among other locales across the Deep South, Mother Nature let loose a rare winter storm (I live in Birmingham, so know its experience first-hand). It was a whole lot of nothing–about two inches of snow–but nothing was enough to leave thousands stranded at work or in schools or along the highways and byways in their vehicles. Two inches of snow compacted into ice was enough to render the roads impassable, turning the highways into parking lots, where confused and dazed erstwhile motorists wandered around like extras in the cast of the Zombie Apocalypse.
That should have offered a powerful clue as to whether man and his supposed technological prowess are in charge, or if Mother Nature still holds all the trump cards (not to spoil the ending for you, but she does). Mankind’s civilization proved to be delicately poised on the edge of the abyss. A feathery touch of Mother Nature, and things were tipped the wrong way. And Mother Nature refused to reveal her play until the last second, coyly frustrating mankind’s most astute observers and predictors of her behavior. Mother Nature 1; Mankind 0.
Then, last week, a dusting of snow sent people scurrying home early from school and work, lest they be caught out again like the week before. They weren’t caught out, because the dusting never amounted to anything. Mother Nature, in a feint, 2; Mankind still 0.
Now this week, schools here in Birmingham have been canceled for two days running, businesses who can do so, like too-big-to-fail banks, which by dint of their importance, are also too-big-for-it-to-matter-whether-they-are-open-for-business-or-not, are closing up shop and sending people home. But of the forecast snow/ice storm? Nothing. Just a bit of very cold, and thereby very chilling, rain. Mother Nature 3; Mankind still 0.
And finally this, from the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky:
A sinkhole (pictured above) has swallowed eight of the Corvettes that had been on display in the museum. The museum is located just across from the Corvette assembly facility. Mother Nature 4; Mankind (ever and always) 0.
I always used to think Mother Nature was indifferent to mankind’s fate. Here lately, I’m beginning to think she is actively and intentionally engaged in shaping it to his detriment. But I sort of like it. Any society that devotes a museum to mass-produced, clunky motor vehicle deserves to raise Mother Nature’s ire. But I do wish she would allow my daughter to soon go back to school.