Mother Nature took a lot of flak last week, including some very choice words from me … my mother had months ago planned a trip to Disney World with my daughters over the holiday vacation, and their flight was canceled (on two separate days) because of the weather-related travel brouhaha right after Christmas. Yeah, kind of hard to explain to a six-year-old that her New Year’s with Mickey was secondary to a nation of people getting home from holiday visits.
And air travel was definitely a freaking mess (even without the antics of Steven Slater), with flights delayed …
… and canceled all over the place, connections missed, and a lot of people justifiably annoyed by more than changes in days and times.
Cathay Pacific said it is looking into why passengers were stuck for hours on the tarmac at JFK International Airport in New York after a major snowstorm walloped the northeastern United States.
Passengers on one flight from Vancouver did not deplane until about 12 hours after the flight had landed.
“It wasn’t fun with three children sitting there,” said Vincent Butcher. “We were already delayed three or four hours getting onto the plane. And then once we arrived, to have to sit there for 12 hours wasn’t the best.”
Butcher told CNN his family was forced to wait again once they were off the plane because there was no one available to help them track down their luggage.
Because I’m not a flyer myself (yeah, I’m a chickenshit), I rarely think more of these issues that crop up than a sympathetic, “Oh, sucks to be those poor people” (maybe I’m more narcissistic than I thought). Because this one struck close to home, though, it got me thinking beyond “those poor people” and in the direction of the culprit.
Mother Freaking Nature, evidently a force to be reckoned with … and subject of her very own Wikipedia page.
Mother Nature (sometimes known as Mother Earth) is a common personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing features of nature by embodying it in the form of the mother. Images of women representing mother earth, and mother nature, are timeless. In prehistoric times, goddesses were worshipped for their association with fertility, fecundity, and agricultural bounty. Priestesses held dominion over aspects of Incan, Algonquin, Assyrian, Babylonian, Slavonic, Germanic, Roman, Greek, Indian, and Iroquoian religions in the millennia prior to the inception of patriarchal religions.
I have no beef with the idea of the earth’s gender being female when you’re talking in terms of giving life on a variety of levels and nurturing “her” living things. However, I’ve heard a bit too often in the past couple of weeks about what a “bitch” Mother Nature is, and I’m not sure how thrilled I am about the moody, dour, seemingly revenge-seeking stereotype that seems to accompany the whole “Mother Nature” package.
Obviously I know that the concept of nature being female is based in ancient cultures. It’s not like there was some modern day decision stating, “Nature’s a fucking bitch … must be a chick.”
And yet the traditionally positive portrayal of female characteristics personified in “Mother Nature”—giving of life, fertility, sustenance for her children, and so on—has given way to a view of the once noble Ms. Nature as … well, as a temperamental beeyotch.
So after much thought on the subject, I’ve got a few “chicken and egg” issues.
What brought about the change from sustainer of life to nag? Is Mother Nature’s long-term status as a woman ultimately complimentary to the female gender? Why doesn’t Mother Nature get complimented for her general goodness instead of getting beaten up for inconveniently-timed snowstorms and Hurricane Katrina?