I saw a meme of a frazzled Chris Farley that perfectly sums up my sentiments after the past five days: “I’m getting a little tired of living through ‘historical events’.”
I think we can all agree that this week (Feb 22-26), we proved, yet again, that everything is bigger in Texas. This time, it wasn’t barbecue, belt buckles, or hair—it was a snowstorm that left us throwing back to our “Little House On Prairie” days. This “unprecedented weather event” put us right back to where we were after Harvey devastated us.
However, unlike our hardier Northern, Eastern, or Northwestern brethren, who know the value of a cord of wood, and have snow ploughing when this thing happens, we were not prepared for the aftermath and for many, they returned to pioneer times to provide basic necessities like heat, water, and food. We are becoming experts at hurricane preparation, but for the bitter cold, it does more than chill you to the bones—it can weaken your spirit and make you irritable with your circumstances.
I’d also like to point out that all of us southerners, who used to look longingly out our windows from Dec-Feb and wish for snow, want a full refund on this whole “weather phenomenon” we’ve just endured. I think we all will promise never to complain about a heat wave ever again.
As the flakes fell like an avalanche, I couldn’t help but wonder:
Did Jack Frost decide it was time to prank us, since he missed out at Christmas??
Did Elsa get upset again, and decide to “let it go” all over the Lone Star state??
Reports of massive power outages, burst plumbing, and barren grocery stores came rolling in on the hour. I hunkered down with my children alone and just prayed that the electricity would remain. I offered shelter and respite from the cold. I cooked meals I normally would have chosen takeout over. I tried to remain calm when my husband drove his f150 to the airport in snowdrifts and ice so he could report for duty as a disaster first responder, and kept praying that what started out as a winter wonderland would be quickly melt in the Texas sunshine. I slept poorly because my ear was attuned to every sound of activity, afraid I’d wake up with icicles on my nose and my offspring shivering in their beds. I worried about my students and their families, many of whom already live in precarious situations, and with low immune systems. I stressed over my 93yr old grandmother, whose only directive in her nursing care facility was to burrow under every available blanket as temps in her room dropped steadily, and just wait. All we did was wait and watch and worry.
I think this was a new level of disaster fatigue.
There was one ray of light in the storm, though, and it came when we needed to help our neighbor. It’s what we do best, I think, and what put Texas on the national news, in recognition of our continued resiliency during strife. Hot meals were made en masse and offered to total strangers, buildings and businesses opened up as warming stations to thaw our bruised spirits and ourselves, shovels cleared paths, stunned sea turtles in the Gulf were rescued, and people like us who kept power bunked up with family and friends who lacked. Games were played, marshmallows roasted over open fires, and families united together, much as we have learned to do over this seemingly endless pandemic. We didn’t totally give up, and I think, we gained more than what was lost, flooding Texas with kindness and love.
This is where I leave you—conserving body heat and pondering our circumstances, praying that we do not have a repeat skirmish with Mother Nature, because she certainly laid it on thick this time.
Luckily, just like each snowflake that fell and melted a few days later, this too did pass.
(Published late, because…life 2.27.21)