According to 1010 WINS, last December's blizzard mess won't happen this year. The Dept. of Sanitation will keep us safe. We're going to have to get back and prove to them that one little slip is not the way we are going to operate in the future, Commissioner John Doherty told reporters at a news conference.
I remember that blizzard, and I remember other ones from years gone by. And, maybe I'm just contrarian, but, know what? I like them!
I know it's a huge inconvenience to all of us whose carefully ordered lives just can't tolerate the inconvenience of Mother Nature butting in. But I like a gentle reminder every now and than that mankind is not really the captain of its little ship. That the glories of our blood and fate are shadows, not substantial things. There is no armor against fate, death lays his icy hand on kings As James Shirley wrote in the 16th century. Sometimes a touch of weather is just what it takes to take the hubris that seems to infect our narcisistic, ego-driven world down a notch.
How easy it is to blame those whose luck turns bad for the state of their petty desperate fate. No job? No food? No education? Bad health? Just plain poor? It's your fault, don't look to me for a handout, or even a little empathetic acknowledgement that there, but for the grace of God, go I. Not everything in life is the result of poor personal choices. And the more you get the story, the less personal choice seems to be the sole reason for the paths we each walk.
There was a time when Americans pulled together. And during great crises, they still do. But the sense of communal fate, which lasted for decades after the trauma of WWII, lasted but a few short years after the great trauma of 9/11. I mean, just look at the discourse in the public square.
Some, in our communities and most especially in our political arena, claim that it should be every man for him, or herself. I am sorry; call me old-fashioned. But I do not.
I believe that a world, and a society, that seeks to place the blame on the less fortunate, the less clever, the less lucky, is an ugly community. It is one that lacks the essential sense of charity and the profound empathic personal code, which seeks personal grace through the helping of our fellows on the path we all walk in this rough, scary and chancy life.
Call me corny, or a fool, but sometimes the wind blows and the snow comes and there is nothing the Dept. of Sanitation, or any of us, can do about it. Sometimes even the best of intentions is not enough to overcome the outward misfortunes or personal inner demons that are always just there, walking beside each of us and ready to knock us to our knees.
So before we blame the Dept. of Sanitation for bad weather, or the government for the homeless man, struggling to live through that blizzard just down our street, maybe we should look to our own sense of right and wrong. Maybe we should extend a helping hand, pick up a snow shovel, suffer through it, or just give a few coins to the less fortunate as we walk with such purpose to our own personal appointment with destiny.
That said, I'm glad to hear that Douherty has plans to put more chains on his trucks, more GPS to keep track of the battle plan to fight another sudden snow. And that he has managed, despite a tight budget, to lay on more day workers, should Mother Nature once again remind us of the delicate fabric of society and government that is all that stands between us and the wrath of forces greater than we are.
As Shirley concluded in his poem, Only the actions of the just/ Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.