Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mother Nature is not Always Nice

The volcano in Iceland reminds us that Mother Earth has both blessed and cursed each locale. For instance for us, we have the natural beauty of the low country with the grand old oak trees draped in Spanish moss, the glorious marshes on the coast teaming with wild life, and each April our gardens burst into brilliant hues of lavender, pink, and purple as the azaleas and other flowers of spring bloom.

Of course that is counter balanced with the hurricanes that threaten each summer and fall. We live knowing that any given year another Hazel, Hugo, or Amelia can rush forth from the Atlantic and literally wash part of our lives away. Now life will come back, it always has in the past. After all, Mother Earth is all about rebirth but it can be painful - the price for living in paradise. She also sends us the heat of August each year - but I always assumed that was to keep the Yankees at bey.

The beautiful states of the plains have the tornadoes, etc. You get the picture.

In non-modern times, everyone lived with the fear of the unknown. You knew the wrath of Mother Nature was always there, but you never knew her timing. True, you could look in the sky as the clouds foretold the inevitable. But by that time, you could just grab the children and move to higher ground or the root cellar, depending on your on oncoming meteorological crisis.

Now, in California, Mother Nature has made a game of it and no one out here has taken the hint. They have mud slides, fires, and earthquakes. Personally, I think I would take this as a sign - and move. True, torrential rain means the earth will soften and move and your house may fall off the side of the hill. (You have some warning here. And it is not when the storm clouds come - it's when your real estate agent shows you this wonderful house, perfect for you, with a beautiful view of the valley - ie it's on the side of a hill.) The forest fires come fast and furious with not much warning. And, they can strike any where. Of course, you can make sure you have a large lot, don't live near anyone, and cut down all the trees, keep the brush cleared, and a water hose handy.

And then there are the earthquakes - no warning, no season, not a clue. You are just standing there, or driving, or sleeping and the earth angers and starts move. The buildings shake (and some fall.) The bridges sway (and some collapse.) Gas manes can rupture causing fire. This came to mind when I was reading the book of hotel services (you know the leather-like notebook that always sits on the desk in your hotel room). In addition to room service, the hotel spa services, and the "helpful" concierge, they also mention what to do in the case of an earthquake - "Duck, Cover, and Hold and Don't Run Outside." This brings about a warm feeling of security - about as secure as the "Duck and Cover" instructions we were taught at school in 1960's in case of the inevitable Russian nuclear attack.

Personally, I'll take hurricanes. Yes, they are devastating, but we have fair warning. I do not live in fear that as I walk down the street a rogue wave is going to come out of no where and wash me away. I can sleep on the 8th floor of a hotel without fear of 100 mile per hour winds suddenly blasting out the windows. And, our safety instructions assume that you had fair warnings from the hotel staff and they are more concerned about your knowing the evacuation routes clearly marked on the highways leaving the coast, than the location of the stairwells so you can climb to the higher floors to escape the oncoming tidal surge. But, with today's Weather Channel, you know "the storm's abrewing" days in advance, so chances are you have left Dodge a while back.

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