Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reversion to the Snow

Ok, strap in for this post. Try to follow my logic.

It's commonly known that toddlers revert to what is familiar when faced with an uncertain situation. Something scary. Or the Unknown. My toddler is the perfect example of this. When he isn't feeling well, like this morning, and I move, for example, the humidifier from across the room to a new spot, he demands that it be put back where it was. It's rightful spot.

A new music class might land him sitting in my lap (instead of bolting away from me, his normal modus operandi) or begging to be "UP!" He is the most independent little man this side of the Mississippi. Except when the unfamiliar rears its ugly head.

Totally understandable, and normal, you understand. His world is pretty safe and secure, when it's predictable. We can all relate to that. Our.. Reversion to the mean.

Here in the Washington DC area, we've had one massive snow storm (past tense). Like, pounds and pounds of snow. Our gazebo is crushed, the glass table underneath shattered. Historic snow. Now, at press time, we are in the midst of another massive snow storm of historic proportion (present tense.) Once again we had fair warning, so back out to the stores, everyone in the Washington DC Metro area yesterday went. Including me.

Nary a gallon of milk was there to be found. Shelves empty, fervent store-goers with packed carts made their way furiously around the store, grabbing items they may or may not need in the next four days. And amazingly, among the desperate grabs for leftover turkey legs, corn relish and faux sausage that nobody really needs, there was a community.

Three other women were gathered around me in the store's elevator (this was an Arlington, VA store, which makes it fancy, which means it has two floors) and we all eyed each others' equally packed carts. There were friendly exchanges, smiles. One woman rolled her eyes and commented on the unbelievable amount of snow. Another woman said with kind eyes, "at least we're not in Haiti right now."

Checking out, I made affable chatter with the manager bagging my groceries (yes that's right.) We were from the same town. We started talking Carolina basketball (he went to rival NC State) and two other Dads from another aisle turned around and engaged us in basketball conversation. We were like family (since they brutally teased me about our lack of wins this year.)

All over our neighborhood, for the past four days, neighbors have helped neighbors. My husband was digging out a spot for my mother (the Saint) who came to help. The man who lived in the closest house came out to help him. We have a friend who helped countless passers by whose cars that got stuck outside their house, as we my husband has. Neighbors going out of their way to dig out an elderly person. Reaching out to those who lost power. People meeting those that live in very close proximity to their own home.. for the first time in years.

It's amazing, the human connections that have been made. The kind souls going out of their way to help others in need. Big catastrophes bring out the worst of the weather, and the best in us, it would seem.

I like to think this is the true nature of Man. That when faced with adversity, or a little snow.. or a whole heck of a lot of snow, we come together to help each other. Through it, around it, keeping our cars and roads dug out and spirits lifted. I like to think this is our own way of retreating back to what is natural.

Our Reversion to the Mean.


Carrie Griffin,  February 12, 2010 at 6:33 AM  

Colleen, I used to shop at that Harris Teeter that you are referring to and it would crack me up to get on the elevator to go upstairs. :) I hope you guys are staying warm - I can't believe the amount of snow you've had. Take some pictures if you can!

RainSplats February 12, 2010 at 1:35 PM  

Next time someone asks me how God can let disasters happen, I'll point them to your post and say: This.

I hate the scary stuff, but I love it how everyone comes together after.

thank you for sharing your thoughts and good luck in coming storm.

Carrie February 12, 2010 at 4:36 PM  

Glad that you are all safe and warm during these snow storms. We actually got about 4 inches today which is rare here. I'm in North Georgia. :)
Just stopping by from SITS. Hope you have a sweet Valentine's day weekend.

♥ Kathy February 12, 2010 at 6:17 PM  

It's snowing here too and Walmart looked scary with the amount of people in there..I skipped entering since I bought all my groceries the other day (whew). It IS nice when people can come together and help each other. Too bad it takes something bad to make it happen.

Honey Mommy February 12, 2010 at 7:06 PM  

I love this post and the thought behind it. I agree with Kathy that it is too bad that it takes a catastrophe to make the connectedness happen.

buffalodick February 13, 2010 at 9:30 AM  

We all gather in the street after high winds or tornado warnings..but it all goes back to normal when the common bond is gone- I lived here 31 years...

Jenners February 14, 2010 at 12:33 PM  

I do think that big things like snow help to create a sense of community that is largely absent at other times ... there is a sense of "we're all in this together" feeling ... until you have to fight for that last loaf of bread in the grocery store.

May it end soon!



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