Mother Nature’s Christmas gift, or lack thereof – depending upon your perspective – reminded me of how things have changed.
And like most glasses of holiday eggnog, some are half full, some are half empty.
For winter recreation enthusiasts, a new blanket of December snow is always a welcome sight. For folks like me, it means an hour or more of labor, spent mostly on the driveway. It’s a task that always makes me appreciate the tediousness of keeping up with mowing the lawn for six months of the year.
Our snow also brought an arctic chill to the air, and when the wind finally arrived with it, I was grateful the driveway was already clear.
Thanks to our technology, and plenty of experience due to the pandemic, we’ve become far more proficient at working from home. Not all of us, of course, but plenty of us.
Nobody I know welcomes the challenge of driving through snowy or icy conditions. Some folks are less intimidated by it, but nobody celebrates it, other than perhaps folks who get paid to clear the roadways, or deliver pizzas during the worst of it. But winter navigation is a necessary skill for many of us who call Minnesota home 12 months of the year.
Thanks to our ability to work from home, fewer of us have to navigate the roads when the snow falls all day long, or icy spots dot the freeways in the subzero aftermath of Mother Nature’s gift.
Right or wrong, organizations postpone or cancel events, helping minimize the freeway traffic from city to city here in the metro.
Safety first, and it’s hard to disagree with that. Although it seems the messaging is a little too overcooked these days.
Erring on the side of caution is never a bad idea, but plenty of people don’t have the luxury of working at home. Whether it’s the same health care workers, public works employees and public safety personnel who didn’t have the luxury of working from home during the pandemic, or the tow truck and package delivery drivers who answer the call for help or hustle to get last-minute gifts to our doorstep, less-than-ideal driving conditions are relegated to a nuisance rather than a justification for staying home.
Most of us have navigated, and survived, less-than-ideal conditions on our highways during many winters past. When duty calls, it takes more than what Mother Nature dealt us last week to keep many of us off the road.
A winter storm means allowing extra time for traveling and forgoing a few social activities we may have been planning on attending. But instead of fretting about how bad it might be when I have to navigate the roads, I prefer to be thankful, thankful that more of us have the ability to stay home during the worst of times, allowing those who need to travel to have less competition on the roadway.
Thank you to all who worked long hours tending to our streets last week, and to those who navigated them because your job required you to do so. You reminded us that it can be done, at least here in the metro.
And thanks to all those who erred on the side of caution and utilized the ability to work remotely, thank you for making it easier on everyone who had to take to the road during the worst of times last week.
Mother Nature may have changed many plans last week, but that’s part of the deal our ancestors made long ago when they settled in Minnesota. Let’s embrace such moments as best we can, rather than focus on the negative side of the equation.
But please, Mother Nature, spare me the opportunity of clearing my driveway for another few weeks. My neighborhood trees are already beautiful, and I can appreciate them from inside the house.
Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.