Silent Storm

Posted from rural New York State, Dec. 27th 2010.

This morning we woke up to two feet of snow which had fallen silently during the night, piled up against doors and windows, banked up on gates and fences, and covering our roads; and today the snow continues thickening, softening contours and erasing the details of our familiar known world. Some winds are gusting and the falling snow swirls for a moment, then falls again in a thick, soft, curtain.

"Snowed in" - photos and symbols graphics by Laura Vargonen.

We are not the only ones; millions in the U.S. alone are in the midst of this silent storm. Those who got prepared are feeling good for awhile at least, and those who didn’t must be as we were last year, helpless and stressed, running and regretting not having done this or that – maybe looking for heating fuel, or snow shovels, or asking for help to get out of the house.

Here is how we prepared in advance: 1) Collected plenty of wood for the fireplace, 2) Checked that we have flashlights and candles, 3) Made sure we have enough food, 4) Checked the emergency first aid supply (many items in the kitchen), 5) Filled the generator and all vehicles with gasoline plus kept some ready in cans, 6) Got the snow plow ready to do its work. These are typical preparations around here.

So what is different about this snow storm, this winter, and these preparations? Well, this snow comes with Climate Change, which means it is falling in new places and many people are living through it who have not experienced this before.

All over the world people are waking up to the need to survive while earth’s climate is taking us by surprise with the forces of nature. A review of the news from the last years makes it clear something is happening. Every day somewhere in the world an earthquake, a flood, a hurricane or typhoon, a forest fire or a drought has created disaster for large numbers of people’ lives. Individuals and their governments are being pushed to take action and get prepared. The industrialized world is finally realizing that it is time to stop “interrupting and dominating the environmental process”; it is time to accept the wisdom in the universe.

This snow is different because it carries a message. Actually many messages. It is different because from all directions – Science, Religion, Technology, Politics, Personal experience, people are getting the same message – “learn how to live in harmony with nature”. The natural world contains within it all the guidance needed to build a paradise, a utopia. Our work is to “research and insearch”, to learn from timeless examples, and our concern is to make something useful, which can benefit anyone.

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