Unlike those people who flock to the grocery store for bread and milk whenever a slight dusting of snow is predicted, I am a doubter when it comes to meteorological predictions. (Alright, so I always keep a well-stocked pantry of staple foods, which means I can afford to mistrust the weatherfolk.)
Even though I had heard that a major collision of cold and warm fronts was scheduled to occur on Friday–that this storm would spawn tornadoes across the middle of America, that cities from Nashville to Indianapolis to those in Ohio would be likely to be affected, that this same storm system had already caused much damage in Missouri and other midwestern states–well, even with all of this, and with knowing that I live smack dab between Tennesee and Ohio, somehow I was still surprised to learn that all of the local public schools, colleges and universities, and local businesses were closing by 3 pm on Friday. And somehow I still didn’t know how to feel about the enormous red circle of storms on the weather map, the tornado warnings that approached slowly county-by-county, the friends who arrived with carry-out Thai food to share our basement with us.
And then thirty-six hours later when I heard at church we were supposed to get snow last night, I didn’t believe it. Snow and tornadoes in one weekend? What are the chances of that? But at one-thirty this morning, when the hall curtain seemed to be glowing as I shuffled by and I peeked out to make sure that our back porch sensor light hadn’t kicked on by mistake, I was surprised to see our biggest snowfall of the year in progress.
And tomorrow it’s supposed to be nearly sixty degrees here.
Supposed to be.
But all this–and the fact that last night when I was being a little bit cynical about the weather, J said, “Man, you are a doubter”–started making me feel a little bit guilty this morning as I glanced through some news articles about folks who’ve suffered great loss as a result of the storm system.
Lots of those folks are suffering now that their roofless, wall-less, crumbling homes are covered in snow. I read about a church that’s nearly completely fallen apart still having services yesterday. I read stories of death, of injury, of miraculous survivals after being flung fifty feet in the air. I read about people who rode out the storm in double-wide trailers, and those who didn’t make it because they were in double-wide trailers.
My well-stocked safety net of a pantry, needless to say, is not in a double wide.
My walls are still standing as the snow melts away.
My seedlings on the windowsill still offer the promise of a garden after the threat of frost is gone.
And the next time a big storm comes through, I can count on a few things:
1) I will not believe it until it’s here.
2) My pantry will be stocked.
3) My family will check in when the Weather Channel looks ominous. And they’ll keep calling until I answer my phone.
4) My neighbor will still call to make sure I know about the tornado warning.
5) My basement will still be comfy with board-game-playing, Thai-food-eating friends.
Because that’s how life is for those of us who can afford it.
And, really, it should make us feel a little bit guilty.