Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ice Storms, New Hampshire, and “Acts of God”


Saturday Dec. 13. Thirty minutes ago our electricity was restored after the worst ice storm in New Hampshire history knocked out power for ½ the residents of the state. My power was out for almost forty hours. There remain upwards of 300,000 NH families still without it. They say power may not be fully restored for three or four more days in spite of teams of electrical workers coming from as far as Ohio, PA, and Maryland.

It wasn’t so bad for Mrs. Hump, the dogs and I. We have an automatic propane generator that came on at 3 a.m. Friday. I called for a top off Friday morning, received it within an hour, and figured I had a good three days of gas to run my appliances, pump & heat my well water, provide lights and all the creature comforts.

By mid afternoon, surrounding neighbors without generators had been called or visited and invited to come over, take hot showers, fill water jugs and buckets for drinking and flushing, and generally enjoy the warmth of our wood burning stove, hot soup, and ample beer and liquor supply on into the evening Friday. Fortunately everyone around here has an alternate heat source, wood stoves or fireplaces, so no life threatening situations in spite of temperatures dipping into single digits overnight.

The Governor declared a state of emergency. National Guard was used to help clear streets of downed trees and storm debris in the hardest hit areas. Old folks with no alternate heat were evacuated to community shelters or neighbors spare rooms. People’s pipes burst from the cold and flooded their basements. FEMA provided emergency facilities’ with generators and cots; the Red Cross went into action. Thus far there has only been one death attributed to the storm. As disasters go, this one was well handled.

As I reflected on the myriad stories carried by our two local papers and the TV news coverage which preempted all regular TV programming, I realized I never once heard the words “Act of God”; or “Miracle.”; or “By God’s Grace.” uttered by a single reporter, nor any of the scores of storm victims interviewed. Not a single, “Thank you, Jesus!” Not one reference to God’s “merciful divine intervention” nor the angry pronouncement of “ His divine punishment for New Hampshire’s sinful, or stubborn, or … uh… err … maple syrupy ways.”

I realized in some other states (read: Bible Belt), the televangelists, every two bit bible banging clergy and their frenzied faithful, would be wailing in the streets and getting face time on every camera testifying, attributing their lot, lives & narrow escapes to the supernatural; explaining the mystical cause or meaning of the event; declaring its impact on their state as the “LORD’s Will!”, perhaps even a sign of His displeasure.

But nope, not in New Hampshire. Not a single supernatural platitude was to be found.

New Englanders are famously self sufficient and pragmatic. We understand natural occurrences, climatic changes. We are an educated people and don’t tolerate fools lightly. We include the overtly religious under that classification.

It helps keep their numbers to a relative minimum, and the few there are largely muted. It's not unlike how the cold climate helps keep us free of termites. I love New Hampshire.

6 comments:

Joyce said...

What a freaky storm. And what an amazing picture! Crazy how something so potentially deadly can be so incredibly beautiful at the same time.

And I thought this was supposed to be a Monday post? Got something else up your sleeve, do ya? ;)

DromedaryHump said...

eh...i figured with this newsworthy event i'd better put it out there while its still topical.

BTW... I must admit.. when the power came on I shouted "Thank Ya Jezzus!!" But I did it like a southern baptist evangelical wild eyed whacko to make my visiting neighbor laugh. It worked ;)

Tracey said...

Those two or three days a year we get real winter weather here in Arkansas, we're more inclined to get ice than snow. It's a real bitch because it always either weighs down the power lines until they break loose, or weighs down tree limbs that break and hit the power lines. Either way, we're talking no electricity and my house is all electric. One of these days, we'll get around to getting a generator, but it never crosses our mind until we have a snow day. I figure y'all must of had a real bitch of a storm, though, to shut down things up north. Here, you say snow and we go gonzo; there, it takes a real doozy to slow the pace.

DromedaryHump said...

tracey...
better idea: Arkansas is filled with religious nuts. Why not just get one of those evangelical churchs down there to start an anti-ice storm prayer group?

tell em you'll contribute $10 a week to the church for every week there is no electircal outtage; but that the first time there's an outtage, because their prayers failed, they have to buy you a generator.

If you figure an auto generator for your whole house will run like $5-7,000, it would be a darn good insurance policy and a low premium at $10.00 a week.

If they say no to this, it proves they have no faith in the power of prayer.
;)

Anonymous said...

I will pray for all you blind atheist fools. Step outside of yourself for just a second and look around. If you found a watch on a beach would you think it just appeared there or evolved all on its own? or would you think for just a second that maybe someone or something designed it? But hey i am from the south so i must just be a religious nut huh?

DromedaryHump said...

Dear anonymous,
My compliments on your courage in refusing to sign your post. It must be a christian trait.

anon said: "But hey i am from the south so i must just be a religious nut huh?"

Actually, no ... you're not a nut because you're from the south. You're a nut for being a religious fanatic AND being from the south.

as for the "watch maker" argument..LOL.. lemme get this right: You're still relying on Paley's argument from over 200 yrs ago to refuse modern scientific evidence and justify your belief in the supernatural creation of life?? Hahahah..please! Nobody uses that argument anymore. Here..read a fricken book and see why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blind_Watchmaker.jpg

Becareful...you may learn something!!! (I/m just kidding, I know you don't read anything that might expand your intellect. It could weaken your faith)

Finally, yes, you go right ahead and pray for me, you silly drone ... and I'll think for you.

Yours in Jebus,
Hump