Winter Happens

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind,
As man’s ingratitude.

-William Shakespeare

Fast approaching is my second winter as a home ‘owner’, where ‘owner’ really means I have a debt to a bank, but it keeps us warm and dry. Preparing for winter takes some effort. There’s a list of niggling things to do, like blow out the sprinkler lines and other fun stuff; most of which is quite minor and doable but has to be done. Or not… but the alternative to preparing for winter is almost always more costly in the long run.

All in all, we live a pretty easy life. With a gas furnace, indoor plumbing, and refrigeration, it’s practically luxurious compared to what 99% of the people who have lived on this planet experienced.

Imagine if preparing for winter was stockpiling enough wood and food for 3 months. And how about hay for the animals, who you need to plow the fields, once they thaw, of course. Ok, now what happens if winter lasts for 4 months? 3 months in and you are out of food, wood, hay and there is 4 feet of snow and 20 miles from the nearest chance to get more. And just to make it more fun, imagine if everyone else had also only been prepared for the 3 month version of winter. Good times…

So… where were we… oh, yeah, global economic collapse…

Winter happens… everything that goes up must come down. Cycles are inevitable.

The fundamentals of our economy are strong...

The fundamentals of our economy are strong...

What are you going to do? Curl up in a fetal ball and wait for sweet slumber? Hopefully, it’s not blizzard after blizzard from here on out (The DOW has to stop at zero, right?) and you still have a metaphorical month of wood and food, and some hope for getting more, but all signs point to winter, so there is no sense fiddling around with the grasshoppers.

Tim O’Reilly is fond of spreading the ‘create more value than you capture’ meme. (his recent web 2.0 ‘do stuff that matters‘ keynote now seems almost prescient, ‘reality bubble’ indeed… watch Tim at Boston Ignite too)

I really like that idea. If everyone was doing that, most of the problems on the planet would melt away.

I’d like to extend that idea just a bit…

Start by creating value but, ‘capture more value than you consume’.

Hopefully that can get us through to Spring…

Adversity draws men together and produces beauty and harmony in life’s relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth.

-Soren Kierkegaard


One response to “Winter Happens

  • Ghennipher

    Beautiful analogy…and certainly timely. I’ve been reading posts about the 1930s depression which compare the time we’re living in to then. I think its much more realistic to zoom out a bit and recognize the cyclic nature of life and events. Now, we just have to make it to spring.

    Great post.

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