Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Man vs. Nature

I do not want to think about the upcoming battles with snow. The rain was bad enough.

My favorite short story is "To Build a Fire" by Jack London. I remember reading it in school as we learned about the different kinds of thematic conflict: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Machine, Man vs. Self, and of course my favorite, Man vs. Nature.

For those not familiar with Jack London's story, he tells the tale of a man stranded on a Yukon trail in subzero weather. London is a masterful storyteller and was able to convey the chilling, frozen scene for his readers. We felt the cold in our bones and held our breath as we waited to see whether his protagonist would be able to light a fire to survive. Ultimately, the man is no match for nature.

I think this early love of the Man vs. Nature theme spawned my fascination with natural disasters and weather in general. Little did I realize I would play my own Man vs. Nature game yesterday as my husband and I battled the constant rain flooding our downstairs area. No, it was not a mortal fight, but it was draining both emotionally and physically as we siphoned water from the floors and carpets every way we could. After hours of back-breaking work and an end to the rain, the standing water was finally gone, leaving us with soaking wet carpet and dozens of drenched towels and blankets.

Nature, we won this time. But I know how fickle that temporary victory may be.

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