8:42 p.m. January 26th. Cambridge, Mass.
As I write, New England is hunkering down for what the TV meteorologists are saying will be an historic storm. A swath of the east coast from Philadelphia to Boston is bracing 2-3 feet of snow in a 24-hour period. The predicted storm has already caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights--including several for our own staff. The governor of Massachusetts has declared a state of emergency, banning drivers from the roads, closing the state, and predicting hundreds of thousands will be without electricity.
Despite these dire predictions, some people here in the northeast are excited...my 7-year-old daughter included. School is closed. There are snowmen to be built, sledding hills to be conquered, and pristine snow ready for those of you who have new cross-country skis. People will bundle up with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the snow fall in great flakes, making Boston, New Haven, and New York shimmer with great beauty and quiet.
Not everyone rejoices, however. Earlier this winter, the largest homeless shelter in Boston was closed when the bridge that goes out into Boston Harbor was condemned--a bridge that both links Long Island to the mainland and distances hundreds of our homeless brothers and sisters just far enough from the good citizens of Boston. While a makeshift emergency shelter has been created, and programs like Boston Health Care for the Homeless and St. Francis House have opened their doors on the coldest nights, we are still down many hundreds of shelter beds. During a storm like the one that is coming, I don't know where all these folks will end up. Some will inevitably perish in the cold, wet night.
While some of us will have a warm, safe place to protect us from the storm, others will scramble for survival.
Over the next couple of days, our work here at the Center for Social Innovation will go on, but will inevitable be slowed and disrupted. Be patient with us as we dig out and get back to normal. Say a prayer for us all--especially those who suffer as a result of the storm. And remember not all disasters are natural. Some are man-made.
Image by Jeff Olivet, Fresh Pond, Cambridge, MA, January 2015