The headline at ChicagoTribune.com: “Blizzard may be ‘life threatening.’” There were similar headlines throughout the day on the front page of Yahoo! (with the latest version of the story here). Yes, there are predictions for a big storm but why do we talk about the weather so much?
My own thoughts: for the average American adult, the weather is perhaps the only constant in our days that we feel we can’t control. With a certain level of income, most Americans can handle day-to-day matters pretty easily: food is easy to obtain, we have generally large and nice shelters, transportation (by car) is available to many, jobs are decent and give us something to do (even with recent higher unemployment figures). Wars are distant and we know that many in the world face much tougher conditions. But we can’t control the weather. A blizzard bearing down on us reminds us that there are some areas in life of which we can only respond. There is a Christian theme in here if we take a moment to ponder it: we are ultimately not in complete control of our lives, this is okay, and perhaps we should remind ourselves of this more often.
(Additionally, the weather is a common, safe topic that can pull people together. It is hard to be offensive or rude when bringing up the weather. Since we all have to deal with it, it can help bring about group solidarity if we have a neutral topic to fall back on.)