Batteries Not Included: The Virtues of Simplicity

It might be April. The ground under the cedars is almost bare, the town roads are turbid rivers running between low dikes of salty slush, and a foraging blackbird is flashing scarlet epaulettes at anyone bold enough to approach him. It might be April. But it’s not. The snow will return. The New Model Climate may be making Canoe Country winters shorter than they used to be, but it hasn’t stopped the wheel of the year from spinning round. Winter will stay with us for a little while yet. And winter has lessons to teach us about our dependence on technology, as this tale from another time and place makes clear. So imagine there’s a winter storm headed your way. Because sooner or later, there will be.

by Farwell Forrest | February 23, 2018
Originally published in much different form on March 6, 2001

I s I write this, a major winter storm is threatening the mid-Atlantic coast. Some parts of the country, places where a couple of inches of snow usually bring traffic to a standstill, will probably get a couple of feet. New York’s northern mountains will be spared the worst, however. We’re unlikely to see more than a foot of snow in all, and that’s just business as usual.

A little more than three weeks ago, the shoe—make that the snow—was on the other foot. While the rest of the state dealt with downpours and minor flooding, we were expecting a one-two punch of heavy ice and high winds. Surrounded as we are by 80-foot-tall white pines, many of them already bearing the scars of earlier storms, we felt a certain understandable apprehension. … Continue reading this article…