Saturday, February 24, 2024

EDITORIAL: How to survive the worst storms

| January 21, 2024 1:00 AM

How cold was it?

Why, it was so cold, dogs were stuck to fire hydrants.

Maybe there’s a soul-warming message in that awkward image.

This past week has seen some of the worst Ma Nature can dish out and some of the best from humans who pull together to overcome her challenges. 

Like shoveling for elderly neighbors. Like giving plenty of room for white-knuckled motorists to maneuver through the mayhem. Like assisting complete strangers in ways small and large, the kind of helpfulness that immediately makes them strangers no more.

When we shiver together in sub-zero weather, when we slide on slick roads but in the same direction, we not only survive. We thrive.

Neither rain nor snow nor life-threatening cold can wreck a community that looks out for one another. In the warm light of cooperation for mutual benefit, differences are diminished to the point of irrelevance. 

The guy in the pickup truck doesn’t ask who the stranded driver supports for president, if or where she attends church, which NFL team she’s pulling for in the playoffs. He helps her safely continue her journey, a beaming smile his ample reward.

Challenges can bring out the worst in people — or the very best. It’s a choice. Always.

Perhaps appropriately, the national cold wave accompanied the first voting in this presidential year. It’s possible that some of the Iowa caucus participants conjured up images similar to the dog and hydrant joke, with their favorite contender being the dog and their least favorite the hydrant.

Here’s the thing, though. We need both; the dog for companionship, the hydrant to protect life and property. 

As it always seems to do, North Idaho withstood Ma Nature’s latest cold/snow haymaker and counterpunched with compassion, consideration and a dash of humor here and there. 

And as it always seems to do, our nation will withstand the daunting challenges it faces this year — as long as we can ultimately stick together.