Snow on the Desert


We seldom get snow on the high desert, but today it has been snowing lightly. We have just over an inch on the ground. Up to a foot is expected in the next two days. Meanwhile the eastern half of the nation is being clobbered by heavy snows. I am told that forecasts call for two feet in places.

My heart goes out to the Easterners. They will be working to clear roads, driveways and sidewalks. They will suffer inconveniences and hazards because of the snow.

Here in New Mexico we are viewing the snow as a blessing. In the Belen area, our annual precipitation is only 8 inches (20 cm). We will take all the water we can get. What is more important is that the snowfall is heavier at the higher elevations. Snow in the mountains will add to the snowpack that becomes our irrigation water next spring when it melts.

Albuquerque has has some minor traffic problems because their snow started with freezing rain. Some children are enjoying a rare day off of school while others are not. In general, people are pleased, even further north and at higher elevations where there is more of a snowfall, the snow is a blessing.

Life is like that. Often the same event will be seen by some as a blessing and by others as a curse. Occasionally an event will bring the same person both blessing and curse.

Winter wheat is sewn in the fall so that it will germinate with the first warmth of spring. Very low temperatures can kill the seed. In fact, it is ideal to have enough snow on the ground to insulate the ground from the -20 F (-29 C) air temperatures that occasionally sweep across Wisconsin and other parts of the Midwest.

When I was growing up in Wisconsin, we had snow all winter long except for an occasional “dry” winter. During “dry” winter we would have several weeks with little or no snow on the ground. Farmers would worry about their winter wheat. Ski hill operators would have little or no business. Just as snow created problems, a lack of snow also had its disadvantages.

As a child, I loved the snow. When I grew up, I learned that snow also brought work. Roads, driveways and sidewalks had to be cleared. If too much snow accumulated, snow even had to be shoveled off the roof. There were also hazards associated with slippery streets, people getting lost in blizzards, and hypothermia. Contractors and businessman were concerned by the extra costs of snow removal, but farmers thanked the Lord for protecting their winter wheat. Operators and employees of ski hills were thankful for the customers who came to play in the snow. The difficulties brought by the snow were thus balanced by the opportunities to sled, ski, snowmobile and make snow angels.

A Christian learns to accept both the blessings and the problems of life because he or she knows the blessings come from loving God, and that the same God offers shelter from adversity. Though it is God who allows problems, this same God stands by to shelter and protect those who believe in him.

As a writer, I am aware that a good story needs tragedy and triumph. The hero must overcome some barrier, but in the end we all like to see the hero solve the crime or win the girl. I have found that several plots can spring from a given stimulus. A snow storm, for example, can spell disaster to the speeding motorist, the hiker caught in a storm, the snowmobiler caught in an avalanche or the woman who is snowed in when labor contractions start. Snow can give my villain cover to do his dastardly deed. Snow allows a hero to track a victim or a villain. On the other hand, the beauty of snow stimulates all kind of romantic possibilities. Snow related sports activities can give my characters pleasure and also put them in position for being the hero who rescues the unfortunate victims of the snow or a snow related accident. Snow offers the characters of a story economic opportunity or the risk of financial loss.

It is interesting how almost any situation can be the inspiration for one or more stories.

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About Reynold Conger

Reynold Conger is a retired scientist, engineer and teacher. Now writing fiction. His books are CHASED ACROSS AUSTRALIA, MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR and REDUCING MEDICAL COSTS (AT THE COST OF HEALTH). He has also started a series of novelas called THE RICHARD TRACY SERIES. Residence: New Mexico, USA Hobbies: gardening, animals and running. website www.ReynoldConger.com
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