Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Bliadhna Mhath Ur Dhuibh! A Happy New Year to all - a very odd New Year for our household: no New Year's Eve party (third child at six months old will do that to you), no Bowl Game day, no snacks, no Rose Parade (that would be tomorrow).

We sit ensconced, almost fortress-like, in the inclement weather. We are in Northern California, and while we have not been directly damaged by the weather, it is all around us: in neighboring Vacaville, flooding over at least one major road with flooding in apartments; overflows onto I-80 between Vacaville and Fairfied. This does not count the greater flooding in the Napa/Sonoma region, or the flooding around Sacramento.

Yesterday, we took a drive along the Yolo Causeway and the Sacramento Levee. The causeway was amazing: the thing looks like a lake, probably up about two feet from our previous drive up of the day before (they opened the weirs at 0830 rather than 1400, as they intended to do). The levee was interesting as well: houses, some of them undoubtedly multi-million dollar homes, backed up against the river - or rather the river was backed up against them! No whole homes had flooded, but there was water in garages and darn near them. One of them had a "For Sale" sign out in front - not a fine piece of advertising! The rains and winds hit again today, especially the winds - I don't remember such winds in my five years in this area.

The thing it made me realize (again) is our relative impotence against nature. We can only prepare for it and perhaps channel it; we cannot modify it or change it in any meaningful way. Nothing could have prevented this storm. The measures against flooding on the rivers is temporary at best (things eventually crumble or silt up) - yet people go back to live year after year.

The other reminder I got was about preparing. Our power went out for about 2 hours during lunch. No microwave to heat lunch. No electric ignition for gas (thank goodness you can light things by match!). If it had been at night, no light or heat; no opening the refrigerator or freezer (to preserve cold); perhaps no phone (ours worked); no communication (TV, radio, etc.) except by what was battery powered or in the cars.

The powerless of ourselves against the creation should stimulate us to think of our true powerlessness against the Creator - except on His terms.

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