by Pete Mazzaccaro
Another morning in the Delaware Valley began today at temperatures in the vicinity of 30 below freezing. This winter has been incredibly cold and has broken some city records.
According to a news blurb in the Inquirer this weekend, this winter marks the first time in 140 years of record keeping that three storms have produced greater than 6-inches of snow in the same winter. The current total as of Saturday afternoon is 34 inches, well above the city’s average of 21 inches over the last 30 years.
The effect has been devastating in many ways. And, yes, “devastating,” I think, is the right word.
First, most parents have probably spent the last two months trying to keep their children from destroying all the furniture in their homes as pent up energy from less and less time spent outside begins to explode in the form of indoor forts, arts and crafts projects gone wrong and the good old-fashioned art of trampolining on beds and couches.
If you’re one of these parents, I feel your pain. It has been, for me, the worst part of this winter.
The other, more serious devastation has been to businesses who need customers to come out in unpleasant conditions to patronize their shops and restaurants. It’s one thing for the cold to discourage us from venturing out of the house, but the snow is even worse. Particularly on streets that don’t get plowed for weeks.
Our intern Emily Vanneman did a quick poll of Avenue businesses and heard much of the same: This winter has been particularly bad, making the typically slow month of January all the more destructive. Even though the Avenue was plowed relatively quickly following last week’s 13-inch storm, and the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation lots had been cleared, many did not want to venture out on errands or quick trips to the neighborhood coffee shop.
If there’s any benefit to the weather, it seems that the colder and crummier the conditions, the less likely it is that thieves will attend to their business. Every week it snows, our crime report is less and less crowded. The most common crimes in Chestnut Hill – thefts from vehicles and homes – rely on agreeable weather. If there is a silver lining, that just might be it.
Spring, I’m afraid, is still a ways off: March 20. As of Thursday’s publishing date, that’s about 50 days away. I’m sure most of us are thinking that day can’t come soon enough.
A Great Loss
I was never a big fan of his music – most folk music makes me cringe (sorry) – but I have always been a big fan of Pete Seeger.
Seeger was a pioneer of the mid-century folk revival that would later produce Bob Dylan. He was a leading figure in shaping the social conscience of that movement, fighting for the rights of labor and minorities. He sang songs opposing war and started a music festival in New York to help clean up the Hudson River
I can think of no person who did more with his celebrity and status than Seeger. Every bit of social capital he raised was spent on a cause that he felt was important. He cared about so much more than himself.
If more of us were even a little bit like Pete Seeger, there’s no question the world would be a better place.