The walk-shoveling imperative derives from the social contract. We are bonded to our neighbors, and to our city. Our actions—and our failures to act—collectively determine the courses of our individual lives.
But there is an implicit contract with the land on which we choose to conduct those lives, raise our children, grow old and die. We set up shop, and we are entitled to reasonable expectations with respect to the severity and variety of weather events we are made to endure. The inputs necessary to maintain social cohesion are locally variable—denizens of, say, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, must organize their lives in radically different ways from Miamians in order to peacefully co-exist in their chosen habitat. The baseline level of work required to buttress local civilization against the depredations of the environment is simply greater. It is unjust to impose that work on people who did not choose it. The land must hold up its end of the bargain.
So here we are. Here is the snow, wave after ineluctable wave of it, band after band, burying us. We tried. I tried. But it's OK to give up. You can stop now. Let nature take its course. I'll see you on the other side.
[Image via Getty]