Friday, February 4, 2011

2011 Blizzard Musings


Whereas Mother Nature might be the great equalizer, the clean-up after reminds of the inequities we still face in our society. Forecasts for a blizzard to hit Chicago were projected far in advance thanks to the wonders of modern technology, so people were able to prepare as much as humanly possible for a date with Mother Nature, and a date it was—strong winds, knee deep snow and dropping temperatures.
The morning after the storm I stepped out on my porch to visually drink the raw beauty of nature. The houses, treetops, bushes cars and sidewalks were all gently blanketed by the purity of whiteness. Then later as the sun yawned and stretched across the noon sky, life emerged from the stillness people started coming out--to shovel, dig out, talk and laugh—all while marveling at the mass accumulation of snow.

I live in Roseland, a neighborhood best known in the last decade or so for murder and mayhem. Who can forget the beating death of Darion Albert when it was caught on tape and went viral for the world to see? But on Wednesday morning, we were a group of neighbors, many of whom have known each other for years outside clearing away the residual of the storm that engulfed our city and I wondered where the news crews were on a day like to today when something good was happening in the ‘hood.
After two days of peace and quiet, lazing around and catching up, it was it was back to work on Friday. People had shoveled out and left piles of snow in the street, and there were no signs of city trucks coming our way. So, I had to get my Honda Accord SE that sits low to the ground over a mountain of snow. It was not working, but my neighbors came out and assisted. As I drove to work I saw that the inequities that we face daily had returned as Mother Nature retreated.

On the Southside of Chicago, streets are not shoveled and snow is not as readily picked up as it is on the north side and in the suburbs. Even in areas where people do shovel their walkways, our blocks our plagued by so many abandoned buildings that for every house that has a clean sidewalk, there is a house or two buried in snow.
Mother Nature may not discriminate, but city services do.

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