One of the observations that prompted me to write Weathering the Psalms concerned the disruptive nature of storms. Power outages was pretty common in that part of southeast Wisconsin where we were living at the time. Downed trees could block rural access—more limited than the alternate routes of cities—for hours. There was clearly a sense of being at the mercy of nature and it was disruptive to the human schedules and lives we’ve constructed. The tornado warning we had a couple of days ago reminded me of that aspect. While radar saves lives by giving advanced warning, it also makes it difficult to concentrate on work when you’re told to take shelter. As far as I’m aware HR doesn’t have a tornado policy.
Having lived in the Midwest for a decade and a half, I came to be aware of the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. While my phone was showing a watch, another family member’s was showing a warning. My evening plans were replaced by standing at the window looking west. The worst of the storm passed us but as long as the weather was threatening there was little else we could do. Eventually all devices agreed that this was a warning and we should take shelter. The storm eventually passed, leaving my tightly packed plans for the day in tatters, even though our actual house was fine. That’s the nature of the weather that makes it so interesting. As much as we like to think we’re on top of it, we’re really all potential victims.
Weather is more powerful than humans. We have to change our plans according to its whims. And climate change is making it more extreme. Even with the evidence all around us deniers still try to block legislation that takes steps to preserving our planet. Those who wish to destroy it for theological reasons don’t stop to think that doing so is about as selfish as you can get—something that the Bible really doesn’t promote at all. One thing about the weather: although it is very different from place to place, we’re all in it together. It can be very disruptive, yes. It reminds us that we and our human plans are temporary. When we’ve managed to do ourselves in, or have abandoned this planet to find a more hospitable one we can ruin, the weather will remain. Majestic storms will come and go, whether or not there’s anyone here to see and appreciate them.