September 8, 2010

The wrath of Mother Nature

Mother Nature (sometimes called Mother Earth) is a misnomer, if I ever heard one.

This personification of nature implies a maternal life-living force—a kind, nurturing, forgiving woman. But this gal is really strict about enforcing her laws. Mother Nature doesn’t take kindly to those who try to fool her, let alone conquer her; she knows that what’s gone is gone forever. She is especially irked when offshore oil wells threaten her oceans.

In recent weeks, this matriarch has shown herself as a powerful force rather than a giver and sustainer of life. More like a “Mama Grizzly.” Oops; that term’s already taken!

Then there’s Father Time, usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, dressed in a robe, carrying an hourglass and scythe. But that image also brings to mind the Grim Reaper.

We can take many earth-friendly actions, but we can’t fool either of these two parental figures. They have apparently teamed up in the last month, bringing Russia and most of the East Coast record-setting heat (even in Bar Harbor, Maine), deadly floods in Pakistan and Tennessee, drought in our area, deadly mudslides in Guatemala, and Hurricane Earl aiming toward us for awhile.

How will Mother Earth deal with man-made threats such as the 130 million tons of toxic coal ash left over from coal-burning power plants in the U.S. each year? Perhaps Brook Benton was on target, crooning, “If Mother Nature don’t stop you, Father Time sure will.”

La Niña is another female we can’t reckon with.

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center warned us months ago that La Niña was coming and that we’d be sitting ducks along the East Coast in 2010. But we frequently greet an “above average” hurricane prediction with “cry wolf.” These climate experts told us about La Niña’s uncanny ability to help young Atlantic hurricanes become especially powerful. She reduces the wind shear over the Atlantic and that allows wind gusts to evolve into major hurricanes.

Pray for her blustery brother, El Niño, to visit us next year. He is the bully we actually like because he can blow these winds apart.