Monday, 29 December 2008

Beware: Black Ice, or A Thought for the End of Very Difficult Year

As I made my way carefully around the neighborhood this morning, I began to think of black ice as a metaphor for the challenges we are facing now. Black ice, for those of you who do not live in this climate, is not an oxymoron, but a condition where a thin layer of ice has formed on pavement. The asphalt or concrete shows through, so you don’t know the slippery surface is there until you slip on it. It is one of the joys of driving in winter here, and the cause of hundreds, if not thousands, of broken bones every year.

We had rain and temperatures well over freezing over the weekend, followed by high winds and a plunge in the temperature. The result is pavement that appears clear but certainly isn’t.

Beware: is the message. What’s underneath the surface may be strong and reliable, but what’s you can’t see on top may be very dangerous. The irony is that ice that is roughed up, that has hard bits embedded in it, is a lot safer than the transparent stuff.

So is there a moral there, I asked myself. Maybe only that to proceed we may need to dig in harder—to strap on the crampons, as it were—so that we can get through this bad patch to the other side.


Martin Langeland said...

Perhaps the most dangerous action is to step forward -- forgetting the past, forgiving the fomenters of bad ideas -- with the confidence born of ignorance.

We must not examine our past lest we discover that a portion -- even a large portion -- of the responsibility is our own.
I wish I could turn this into a joke. But that would be like laughing at a child dancing on the rim of a high rooftop.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Too true.

But on a lighter note, we tried your pancakes on Sunday--a hit.