Outside the window, Gaea begins her not-so-subtle reminder that while we’re able to keep the natural world at bay with our pavements and building, we do not have the final say. As I’ve mention in these pages before, I’m a big fan of technology. It has made communication and collaboration easier than ever before. We can log into our Facebook or Pinterest pages and see pictures of our friends traipsing around the ruins of ancient Rome. We can logon to Yahoo Sports or ESPN and see the dimensions of Fenway Park. But what this storm reminds me of is that there’s no substitute for the real thing. Reading about something or seeing a picture of it, isn’t the same as being there with it. I think it was said best in Good Will Hunting:
So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you.
As much as I love it, I think technology breeds an attitude like Will’s. With a plethora of people teaching us about a myriad of subjects online, it’s so easy to forget experience
can be a great teacher, too. Back when I was in high school, my friends and I used to make pilgrimages up into the White Mountains and would sarcastically complain that “we got nature on us!” Storms like Nemo tend to be reminders that when we experience nature we learn something about ourselves and about the world in general.
After this storm shuffled on its merry way, I learned that shoveling over two feet of snow takes a toll on my back. I also learned that when a person’s mom and sister need help digging out because I can’t get over, there are kind souls willing to share some of that burden. One thing I haven’t learned, though, is when winter storms started to be named. I guess I could poke around on the internet and find out, but that would fly in the face of this blog entry. So I think my world could use a little more mystery.