Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow And Bread And Milk And Life

It's snowing.  I know this because everyone on my Facebook feed has posted a weather update.  And also because I've looked out the window (Amazing how those glass things work so well for keeping up-to-the-minute weather observations).  And also all of the bread and milk have disappeared from the grocery store shelves.

I live in the Southeastern United States.  We don't see a lot of snow around here, so whenever the white stuff starts falling from the sky, it's a pretty big deal.  Some of you readers from colder and snowier climates won't understand the weird outright panic that ensues here.  While life just keeps chugging, business as usual in most places, even with several feet of snow, life here shuts down.  (Just as a point of reference, schools were recently run on a three hour delay for cold weather.  JUST cold weather.  No snow.  No ice.  Just pretty darned cold, if you consider 18 degrees cold.  Which we do here, but you might not if you're from Nome, Alaska)  So bread and milk, being the official staples of the apocalypse, just fly off the shelves here if anyone so much as thinks they might see a snowflake.

I was brave enough to venture out to the local grocery store late this afternoon.  Not for bread OR milk.  I don't just follow along with the herd...I needed kitty litter.  (The litter box was getting pretty noxious and the thought of being locked indoors with it for several days was not an appealing one.)  The place was swarming with apocalyptic preppers loading up on bread and milk (and I did see a lot of beer flying off the shelves, too.  I think those people probably had the right idea).  In fact, there was only one lonely half gallon of 1% cow's milk left on the shelf.  And I'm  pretty sure I saw two old ladies beating each other with their canes to get hold of it.

We might only get a half inch dusting (although it's looking pretty serious out there right now.  I mean, we might find ourselves with two whole inches before this thing slows down), but schools will close and traffic will stop and the government will shut down and everyone will run screaming to their homes, lock themselves inside, and commence to drinking beer and eating milk sandwiches.

But it rarely ends up being as serious as we think it's going to be.  And even when we get more than we were expecting (like a whole inch more *gasp*), it passes.  It passes fairly quickly and life goes on.  After a day or two, we'll be left with some sloppy mud.  School buses will be back to picking up children and carting them off to prison...er...I mean public school.  The roads will be cleared.  The government will be back to doing it's thing (unfortunately).  And the snow will be just a faint memory (like parachute pants being a trendy fashion choice).  In fact, it will probably be 70 degrees by the end of the week.  Life goes on.

And looking back, we'll think about all of the worry and panic and the old ladies fighting over that last half gallon of milk....and it will look just plain silly.

Perhaps the gently falling snow outside of my window has made me wax philosophical, but I'm pretty sure there's an important life lesson in all of this.  Worry and panic does us little good.  In fact it doesn't do us any good.  Ever.  Because, like snow in Eastern North Carolina, it's rarely as bad as we think it's going to be.  And even if it is, we still make it through...usually in shining fashion... even if we missed out on that last half gallon of milk.

While luck may favor the prepared (especially those beer hoarders from the grocery store), life also has a funny way of working itself out.

So we can run around chasing heffalumps and woozles (that's a Winnie the Pooh analogy.  Thanks, Kimmie!), big scary things that exist only in our imaginations, just like the panicking bread and milk purchasers in their apocalyptic fervor...or we can sit back, slip on some warm fuzzy socks, and appreciate this beautiful snowfall (or run outside and frolic in it.  I've already done that.  It's pretty cool, too).  Because like Bob Marley sang, "Everything's Gonna Be Alright".

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