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EDITORIAL

Symmetry of nature or a cruel trick of universe?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 12:01 am

Almost a blizzard on the 35th anniversary of the real thing.

Happy anniversary, Blizzard of ’78.

Yes, it was 35 years ago this month that east and central Indiana were virtually shut down by what was called the worst blizzard on record for the Hoosier state and the first time ever for a statewide blizzard alert. Who was around then can forget the snow, falling at the rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour and driven by fierce winds that reduced visibility to zero? Who does not shudder at recalling the bone-chilling sub-zero temperatures that followed?

Oh, wait. That was yesterday. It is either a symbol of nature’s elegant symmetry or one of the universe’s cruel tricks that we have almost the same kind of deadly weather on the anniversary of the worst example of such weather? Or was 1978 really the worst? Having lived through the last few days, it’s hard to believe.

There is more than one way to look at such fierce tantrums by Mother Nature.

One way is to consider that God – or that tricky universe, if you will – is testing us. Can we rise above the complacency of ordinary days to cope with the sudden dangers and, even more important, even help each other? The most extraordinary thing is that most people really do come through in such emergencies, some discovering a common humanity they barely suspected was there.

Some might see this storm as further evidence of the universe’s indifference. There is no reason for anything. Stuff just happens, and we have to deal with it. If that is the case, we might as well dig in and cope together. No one else is coming to the rescue.

Whatever else it is, a weather emergency should be a reminder of just how far we have come. It wasn’t all that long ago that homes did not include indoor plumbing, centralized heating or electricity. The threat of losing one or all of them for a few hours or a few days should make us give profound thanks to the industriousness of all those who gave us those comforts.

Whatever God or the universe is trying to tell us, let us just say this: Message received, OK? Enough already!