Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Day Atlanta Stopped

Last Tuesday, I ate a bowl of butternut squash soup as I peered out the window of the dining room at my office. When the light was just right, and I squinted at the bushes, I could make out a few flakes. The moment I had been waiting for all season long had begun. It was finally snowing.

People had told me that this sometimes happens in Atlanta, but in my three winters in Georgia, I had yet to see anything more than a passing flurry. I'm from New England, so snow doesn't bother me, doesn't cause me to drive erratically, and doesn't inspire me to purchase a three-week supply of milk, bread, and toilet paper. Instead, I find it beautiful—a pristine white blanket over creation. And I find it exciting. As the intensity of the snow showers increased, and I hurried to finish my lunch, I was just slightly more restrained than a kid about to find out he has a snow day home from school.

But as innocent and fragile as those flakes seemed through the dining room window, they brought lots and lots of friends—friends who would turn to ice and stick to the roads. Before too long, the slippery conditions of the highways and bridges coupled with the mass exodus from the city turned Atlanta into a parking lot. I was one of the lucky ones. My drive home from work took was a mere two hours and change. Some friends weren't so fortunate. Some got stuck at work; others spent five, six—even 12 hours in their cars. I heard on the news that one woman even gave birth in her car because the roads to the hospital were jammed. Hundreds of accidents were reported. Hundreds more cars were abandoned. The images of Atlanta on the local news really did look like images from The Walking Dead—a comparison too ripe not to make.

But following the mess of the drive home, I got to spend two days at home with my bride, "snowed in" from the storm (even though the grass in our yard wasn't entirely covered). I was thinking about this storm today on my drive to work this morning. There is no more snow, no more ice, and no sign that any winter storm had ever even approached Atlanta. It's now just a fun memory. Well, it was fun for me. And while I recognize that many people were frightened, and some did suffer as a result of the storm, there is something beautiful about everyone being given a break from the routine of the everyday just to rest. 

In an agricultural society, winter is a time for the farm, and the farmer, to rest. But in our societies today, there is no season of rest, no natural cycle of Sabbath. We take vacations, have an occasional holiday, and collapse when we've worked too hard, but there is no Sabbath. So while many were outraged at public officials, school boards, and even the clouds in the sky, I am thankful for snowpocalypse and thankful for all the Sabbaths God has commanded. And more than anything, I am refreshed for the next storm to come. 

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