The Gift of Snow and Sleet

Posted on December 23, 2008 by ELCA World Hunger

Like many places, Chicago has had a lot of snow recently, and I’m probably the first to whine about the winter commute to and from work. But that’s the extent of my whining. I hate how much time I spend in the car, but I don’t hate the snow. The way I see it, snow and sleet are sparkly gifts that we’re lucky to get and should never take for granted – let alone curse!

Reinforcing my opinion was a recent article in Time Magazine titled “Dying for a Drink.” From it I learned that Las Vegas has a population of 1.9 million people (!!) and typically receives just 4 inches of rain a year. How long can they all live there before the water is gone? And what will happen then? I also learned that “half the planet lacks the same quality of water that the ancient Romans enjoyed” and that in India “wells that once hit water at 20 ft. now need to go 80 ft. or deeper.”

Life – including the food we eat – can’t exist without water. Everyone’s rice and wheat cost more this year because of Australia’s drought. So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Frozen water that melts slowly and is absorbed by the ground is good. It’s good for our water tables and aquifers, good for our plants and animals, and good for us. Las Vegas can only hope it’s not another 30 years before their next big snowfall. And as the snow comes down here in Chicago this winter, I will give thanks for this most precious and beautiful of gifts.

The absurdly frigid temperatures are a different story.

-Nancy Michaelis
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