Friday, December 09, 2005

The first snow of winter

In my new home town the first snow of winter has fallen. It is an extraordinary experience to wake up in the morning to a city blanketed in white powder. Fresh snow has a therapeutic effect, it has the ability to make even the most derelict of cityscapes into a soft wonderland. With the beauty of snow comes the harsh reality of winter. The homeless, the weak, the old and infirm are all in a risk of elevated harm that comes with the snow. In the animal world winter is trial for which only the strong and well conditioned survive, this strengthens the species for continued survival against future winters, just as a cunning fox guarantees the proliferation of cunning rabbits. Unlike the animal world, we do not have predators to contend with, and the survival of our species is not at risk with the seasonal changes, so what benefit can we derive with the coming of winter? Let me suggest that winter can be seen as a test of our humanity. It gives us an opportunity to reach out and help those who may need the help, it can allow us to demonstrate that which defines us as human. Whether it's a monetary contribution, a donation of time, or the giving of additional respect and courtesy to those who are less fortunate, the necessity of compassion should not be underestimated, nor should the benefits.

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