The Winter Storm


Before the storm, the streets become dark stream beds. Each little stone in the concrete becomes individualized, making the road what it really is, a cobble stone relic of a billion, billion rocks, held together by thin threads of black asphalt. And it shushes and slushes, and swishes when car tires speed across it. The children in the foggy windows are faces filled with smiles. School is closed tomorrow.

Christmas trees with their rainbow colored lights reflect off the street in streaks. It is art, stretched and melting into the gutters with the cold rain. The water looks slicker, everything does: car hoods, mail boxes, roof tops, all looking freshly born, ready to be used by a happier human race.

Thunder signals the heavier rains to fall. Soon it will become cold slush, then sleet. You can smell ice in the air, though people will say it is impossible. We know it’s not. Just smile quietly at the nay sayers. Some people are only comfortable if they are saying nay. Not a pleasant fact, but a fact all the same.

Christmas is in the air. It comes like a static charge, in the sounds of bells above doors, in the excited raised voices of children in stores, and the knowing smiles of parents, laughing at the memory of their former childhood glee. It tinks in the salvation army bells, jingles in the ringtones on busy, busy phones held by bustling shoppers. Shopping as a chore is now shopping for presents and surprises. Giving and getting all wrapped up in tinsel and bows.

Then it comes, the darkness, the storm, the rain, the ice, the slippery roads, the worries, the driving slow, the yellow flashing lights, the sirens, then the… accidents.

And in this cold darkness you would be forgiven if all you could see was gladness turned to misery. For I will show you what you do not see.

The paramedics, the police, the rescue crews, the wrecker services, the thousands and thousands of doctors and nurses, the millions of designers, architects and inventors that created the tools of salvation and rescue. Then the safety conscious, who created safer homes that stand strong against the snows and ice and power outages. The ones who created shut-off switches for power over-loads, and broken gas lines, and alarms for deadly carbon monoxide and indoor fires. These millions and millions of workers, their army of tools  and the saviors, rescuers, all coming out to pull us from the wreckage of our darkest moments, these are an army of light and brotherhood. One for all, and all for one. That is who we are, at our best and worst, the human race, the darkness and the beauty of the planet Earth, a jewel in the night, one of many many yet to be found.

If love was a light you could see, and good deeds and kindness a spark, the world that seems so darkly spinning in the void of space, would instead, shine as brightly as a sun. For every dark act of soul or chance, there are a million million acts of kindness and love, so many, it would fill a library the size of our planet.

Outside, the wind is howling, and frozen droplets are crumbling from the dark brown oak stems. It sounds like hail hitting the roof and window panes. It is starless, and streetlamps are mere golden balls of glowingness.  Golden orbs in the mist, the magic of christmas alive again.

My fellow humans will separate us from nature, as if that was natural, but all around me, I see us just where we should be, like the other creatures here, carving out a home, and shaping it to our will. The garden of eden was never taken from the Earth, it was just guarded against intrusions. Slowly, over thousands of years, we have turned our battlefields into gardens.

There is no peace, nor will there ever be, but if there was, how boring that would be. But, we can try, and continue to grow, and watch in wonder as our world shifts from extreme to extreme until we find that blessed middle way between anarchy and puritanism, where life flourishes for the just and the unjust because only there, is the chance for heroes to be born, and of all the creations of man and God, the most numerous have been the heroes, born here by the billions.

The ice storm will go away with a little sunshine and some warmth, but the deeds of heroism and love, and all that went into them, will have remained, and will continue to build onto something wonderful and beautiful unto the ages. But let us come down from the higher thoughts and simply curl up around a warm mug of cocoa, and listen with animal intensity to the strange and dangerous sounds of the winter storm.

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