Is it just me or has the Big Bad Wolf grown bigger and badder recently? Now he not only blows down houses made of straw and sticks, but he has developed the lung capacity to take out brick houses and other previously safe-ish structures with apparent ease.
One of my daughters assures me that the storms really aren't that much worse, it's more a matter of too many people living where they didn't before. Flood plains, tornado-prone areas, coastal property and barrier islands, all are populated much more densely than in days gone by.
I'm sure that's true. However, it's been predicted that up to 15 named Atlantic tropical storms and/or hurricanes are in store for us this season. And, even though early warnings give us time to move out of the way with our families and pets, we still can't move our homes out of the destructive path of an approaching catastrophe like Super Storm Sandy.
The stories read to me when I was little seemed to often involve wolves that regularly gobbled up pigs and little girls dressed in red. Scary. I was assured that the wolves were no longer lurking anywhere near where I lived. But I was raised in the Midwest, and it was clear to me even then that a certain amount of destructive huffing and puffing was going on.
It has always been comforting to me to be able to identify a specific villain when bad things happen, like icy Greenland actually becoming green again. The fabled Northwest Passage exists where only ice barriers loomed before. Perhaps the sea will reclaim coastal areas now inhabited by millions of people. Amphibians are losing habitats that sustained them for millennia. (What will a princess have to kiss?) If there are no more rain forests, if our other forests burn in droughts or are cut down for their wood, all the woodland critters will have to live where we live.
It's very unsettling to suspect that we humans have ticked off Mother Nature to the point that she's ready to do in entire cities. We don't seem very good at being planetary stewards. Seems Mother Nature has become a Big Bad Wolf on steroids. Watch out! Take cover!
Sheila Stoll is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. Write her at PMB No. 309, 7904 E Chaparral Road, No. 110, Scottsdale, AZ 85250.