Draco and Gandolf

At first glance, you may think I’m mixing fantasies (Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). But, no. I’m talking about the weather.

Yes, really. Well, weather and some literary rabbit trails.

Apparently The Weather Channel (weather.com) has taken the initiative to name this season’s winter storms. You can read the rationale behind the decision to begin the practice here. And here’s a list of the 2012-2013 names with their origins. The current winter storm is called Draco, which did not originate–as you may have thought–from the Harry Potter novels. According to The Weather Channel, Draco was the first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece.

Another storm name of interest is Gandolf, which The Weather Channel identifies as “a character in a 1896 fantasy novel in a pseudo-medieval countryside.” The reference is to The Well at the World’s Enda fantasy by William Morris, whose work supposedly influenced JRR Tolkien, who–of course–created that famous wizard, Gandalf (note the slight difference in spelling).

You can read Wilipedia’s explanation of Tolkien’s Gandalf concept here. But you Tolkien purists may find the Tolkien Society site or the Tolkien Official Online Book Shop of more interest.

But back to the weather: nearly all of Iowa is under a blizzard warning. Projected snowfalls are between 6-12 inches. Wind gusts up to 50 MPH could cause whiteouts and drifting.

Many people, adults as well as children, love snow and are excited to see it arrive each winter. And who doesn’t like the idea of a white Christmas? But I’m pretty sure the adults who so eagerly anticipate snow are not people whose work requires driving through it. As a mail carrier, my husband drives 45 minutes to work and then over a hundred miles on mostly gravel roads delivering Christmas cards and parcels of Christmas gifts ordered online (as well as utility bills and Social Security checks). It’s a great job, when the roads aren’t muddy enough to suck a vehicle down to its undercarriage. And when the gravel dust doesn’t roll through the constantly opened window and every crack and crevice in the vehicle to create a chronic cough. And when drifts and wind aren’t rising while temperatures and visibility plummet.

Please pray for safety and peace for him and other mail carriers, law enforcement personnel, utility workers, and all those whose work requires being out and about in this howling blizzard known as Draco.

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