When I think of my environment, I think mainly of the weather and its effect on our lives. Weather can be one of the most destructive elements in the world. It has killed and damaged many lives. It can literally turn the world up side down with a shaking of the earth, blowing of the wind, twist of the air, or a spewing of molten rock and ash. But, weather can also be peaceful. When she wants to, mother nature can lavish on to us the gift of shining sun, cool breeze, and gentle ocean waves.
Last Christmas, I visited my in-laws. There, I experienced my first ice storm. It was beautiful. Each individual blade of grass, tree twig, leaf, and other surface was surrounded by a quarter inch of ice. The trees looked like they were made of glass. Thousands of tiny blades of grass sparked in the sunlight.
But, the beauty was accompanied by tremendous inconvenience for a large number of people. Because of the new weight, trees limbs bowed and scraped the ground. Many tree limbs broke, sometimes falling on top of the houses or power lines. Damaged power lines resulted in power outages for many neighborhoods. Some people were deprived of heat for several days during consistently freezing temperatures. Homeless shelters opened their doors to those who were forced to temporarily leave their homes until their power and heat was restored. The news media warned against the dangers of using propane heaters indoors. Many schools and businesses closed for the two days of the storm. People were reluctant to travel to grocery stores, and they stocked up with extra groceries when they did make a trip. I was confined to the house with my in-laws.
We try to feel that we have some control over the...