All day today we have been under the influence of Orko, who has provided the most snow downfall in our year and a half of Minnesota existence. A real blizzard. Church services cancelled. Even the YMCA closed. Drifts gathering up against our door. This on the heels of Nemo on the eastern seaboard.
It’s a new habit and development, naming winter storms. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization have always christened hurricanes alphabetically. Originally it was done by assigning the name of the Roman Catholic saint of the day. Then it evolved into a yearly list of names through the letters A to Z – even numbered years, men’s; odd numbered years, women’s. Now there are six lists which are rotated, but names are retired when death and destruction have made them fearsome and evocatively terrifying. I.E. – Katrina.
Down through the ages it has been a practice to assign humanistic qualities to forces of nature. The “ancients” did it for certain. There was Thor, the god of thunder, who bore the title of Zeus in a different guise. Njord of the wind and Aurora of the Dawn. And so forth. A name and personality for every fearful or awesome emanation. In this way mankind could cajole and plead, bargain and pay homage, and hopefully make sense of the horrors and wonders of our universe.
I’m not certain who first wove the intricacies of each tale, but I’m certain it wasn’t the Weather Channel.
Sandy? Sounds too sweet and benign. Nemo? Is this a Disney infringement? The official word from the WC says that it is the name of a Greek boy from the valley. Or means “nobody” in Latin. Huh!
And Orko? The Weather Channel authorities state it represents a thunder god in Basque mythology. Where? Therefore it relates to a major snowstorm in America? Because? My googling also turned up a comic relief character named Orko from the Masters of the Universe franchise who “doesn’t reveal his face.”
Someone suggested that these cartoonish names are, at least, better than Snowmageddon or Snowpacalypse. But I’m not so sure. I like my nature gods to be epic and awesome. Personally I can’t imagine offering up incense and my first born to Nemo. Or scattering rose petals to Orko.
What is the Weather Channel thinking? That we will be placated by joke-y visitors who live in the Saturday morning cartoons?
Personally, if I have to be snowed-in, threatened and inconvenienced, I would prefer to blame Loki the rogue and rail at his trickery. Or Hera the Queen of Heaven, who protected her favorites. Or Zeus who enforced order with a barrage of thunderbolts. Or Odin, who along with the Aesir, it is said, created our world.
In the meantime, the birdbath in the front yard is buried and the outside of the kitchen door is packed with snowdrift. The squalling flakes are fierce and persistent. Our driveway is snow-deep and impassible.
To heck with Orko. I’m saying a prayer to Balder the Good and Beautiful.