Just when you thought we couldn’t be surprised by any more weather events, Mother Nature proved once again she has the final say on surprises. Reeling from the hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, wild fires and flooding of 2017, we welcomed 2018 with a sigh of relief in hopes that Mother Nature would settle in for a quiet respite this month. Oh Contraire!
I had the opportunity to join my friend Suzanne on her business trip to Virginia Beach the first week of January. Following the rush of the holidays, I was looking forward to a three night get-a-way. Taking down the Christmas decorations would simply have to wait. Upon arriving in Virginia Beach there was some mumblings going on about a winter storm named Hunter. I thought to myself, “Who names a winter storm?” On Wednesday Suzanne and I made a quick trip to Charlottesville, about 2 ½ hours away from Virginia Beach while keeping a close eye of the weather. Returning to Virginia Beach that evening, winter storm Hunter had been upgraded to a Bomb Cyclone threatening the entire East Coast. (Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!) Around midnight Hunter waltzed in with blizzard conditions and winds up to 50 miles an hour. Looking out the window of the B & B we were staying at, visibility was zero, a virtual white-out. Mother Nature’s roller coaster ride had begun.
In the morning, Virginia Beach turned into the North Pole, only Santa and his reindeer were nowhere to be found. It reminded me of the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” in 2004 about a sudden winter storm that plunged New York City into the next Ice Age. Virginia Beach along with the rest of the East Coast came to a standstill for the next five days. Any control we thought we had over our schedules and lives last week flew right out the window. Mother Nature had left another one of her calling cards.
No matter how advanced in technology we become, there are natural forces surrounding us greater than anything we can imagine. We’ve witnessed this most certainly in 2017. Andy Goldsworthy writes, “We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So, when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we have lost our connection to ourselves.” Nature is influenced by both physical laws and environmental influences, the same as each of us. Learning to care for each other and the environment better serves us for continuing the mindful connection we share as spiritual beings having a human experience on earth.
Originally published in the Bay City Tribune o Sunday, January 14, 2018