It's official: there's been a record snowfall in New York City this January. An additional 15 inches fell in Central Park during this latest storm, bringing the total to 37.1 inches for this winter. Since the normal snowfall for the entire winter in NYC is 22 inches—and we still have a long way to go whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2—this weather is making life miserable for most of us (unless you count the smiling and happy kids). Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg conceded defeat this time and rightly declared a Snow Emergency and closed the schools.
So I am raising a white flag. Mother Nature, you win. I am humbled by your awesome power and the majesty of your brushstroke. Going out early this morning, everything seemed to have been imbued with white in artistic spattering, as if the old Gal dabbed her hands across window screens and storm doors. The patterns of the blasts of ice and snow were intermittent, as if almost done intentionally to shatter light and bring focus on a particular cluster of frosty images of cold, crystalline beauty.
There is no doubt a message in all this to us city dwellers similar to the one sent by Klaatu in the film The Day the Earth Stood Still. We may think we are invincible, that we are immune to the universe around us, and can go on doing whatever it is that pleases us at the expense of all things natural. This is a reality check. Mother Nature is telling us, "I can stop you cold. I can put you in the deep freeze and let you stew. I can close your airports, shut down your transit, and send you back to the Dark Ages if I like."