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Art

Every now and then, man’s boundaries are redefined. That is, just when we think we have a hold on things, that man’s mastery over nature reigns supreme, a correction sets us right. When man’s hubris takes him, like Icarus, too close to the sun, the inevitable occurs. Nature, once again, asserts her omnipotent dominance. And, in one fell swoop, we are done, humbling ourselves to her prowess.

WE READIED OURSELVES

Such was, is, the case this week when Sandy’s swift powers imposed themselves upon New York and its neighboring states. The build up of the incoming storm was imposing with continuous new reports stressing the impending doom. Well, that is the media’s job – to speak theatrics, when possible. As we held our breadths and waited for the storm to hit land, we feverishly switched from channel to channel, searching for the most accurate information as to when Sandy would hit. Like the magician’s wand, the weatherman’s prediction as to where and when, was on point. Man’s scientific projections were impressive, but no more impressive than the outbursts of Mother Nature, whose powerful impact we were ready get fire to take. As though the knowledge of such could possibly obviate such a storm from coming, we readied ourselves with sandbags and whatever tools were at hand.

Batteries, non-perishable groceries, flashlights, canned goods, candles – items that could sustain us during the storm – we gathered up in flurried fashion. Even for those nonchalant New Yorkers who, too cynical to believe they couldn’t outlive the storm, out-maneuver Nature, even they queued up for the mandatory necessities. Indeed, that very morning, when doom seemed at our heels, people were out buying supplies, finally relenting.

A MATTER OF BOUNDARIES

And, then it came. The clouds, the occasional rain, the tempests, the flood. As though all nature let loose, the gushing waters descending upon our city. At her feet, no less, the furies raged their tempers. With rivers meeting rivers – the sheer confluence of power, too overwhelming for sandbags or any kind of human preparation, Sandy’s water overwhelmed the cityscape, block after block.

When it left, it left behind sludge, fire, and disaster. For many there was no hot water, heat, light, or means of communication. For most of us, there was no means of transportation, a quite fantastic plight to experience for most A-type New Yorkers who thrive on the energy of movement.

And, now, apres la deluge, which our landscape very nearly resembles (though not quite in the same terms Louis XV envisaged), we attempt to put our routines back into gear. With a “once in a lifetime occurrence” now being prophesied by many as happening every other year, what have we to look forward to? Can we use our intelligence to better equip and forearm ourselves? Can we, with and within reason, extend our knowledge to not better Nature, as if we could, but rather to understand how we have contributed to the unleashing of her furies and thus harness these tempests so that next time we will control that part of the experience for which we are responsible? Perhaps, it is a matter of boundaries, knowing how to partner with a force surely greater than ourselves.

 

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