What I enjoy about massive storms like the Midwest’s recent blizzard (Thundersnow, Snowpocalypse, Snowmaggedon, whatever you call it) is the simplicity and community that arises.
People spent the windy evening huddled together around a board game or watching a movie. No one was out shopping. No one was out driving (with the exception of stranded motorists). Nearly everyone was inside with other people or outside, braving and enjoying the storm. Some of us were alone – finally getting around to reading that book, answering all our e-mails, and being productive. We all cooked our meals at home or ordered food (I can’t believe some people were still delivering). We didn’t go out. We didn’t really spend our money. Those without electricity relaxed in the solitude of candles and being unplugged – or just migrated to the nearest cafe and did work while mingling with others.
After the winds died down and the snow settled, most of us went right to work with our shovels. People came out of their homes. We were friendly. We were helpful. Neighbors were helping each other dig out cars and sidewalks, even though they had never met before. I loved it.
Being snowbound also gave extra, unexpected time to do the things we wanted.
What did I do over the past couple days?
- Spent Tuesday evening with a group of neighbors drinking wine and watching films.
- Picked up and started a book that had been on my shelf for months.
- Worked on blog posts.
- Shoveled out my car with the assistance of two neighbors.
- Listened to some old CDs – all the way through without skipping songs.
- Cooked three daily meals.
- Caught up with e-mail.
- Cleaned. Put more clothes in a bag for donation.
- Snuggled with my fiance under blankets on the floor and watched a movie.
- Worked on homework.
- Wedding-related venue research.
- Wrote a letter.
- Took a bath. Read my book in the bath.
- Rested. My back really needs it.
- Relished the time. Took it easy.
For some more inspiration on things you can do if you’re still home today, or in a future storm, check out Joel Runyon’s 21 Ways To Survive A Snowpocolypse, Blizzaster, Snowmageddon or Any Other Cleverly Named End-of-the-World Pseudo Natural Disaster.
Most of us will return to work today. We will step back into our cars, swing through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru for breakfast, retreat to our offices, and become wrapped up in our own busy lives again. The magic from the past couple days will f a d e .
But why? Why do most of us want to slip back into a busy, disconnected life?
Why don’t most of us set aside time to do all these relaxing things on a regular basis?
Why aren’t we always greeting and helping our neighbors and strangers?
It’s something to think about.
I am grateful for the storm. It provided all of us with a much-needed break and connection.
Now it’s time to get back to normal. Maybe.