Blizzards have much to recommend them. They produce mountains of glistening white snow, school cancellations and work-at-home days.

Yet in these tech-centric times, a blizzard can deal a serious blow to our digital lives, throwing us offline and generally off. We do what we can to forestall a digital blackout, powering up our devices and stockpiling rechargers. If only we were as realistic in other areas of our lives.

“We have to prepare for a client who’s arriving from Italy on Wednesday,” a friend protests in the face of a looming storm.

Well, no, your client won’t be arriving when flights have been canceled across the board. Score one for the blizzard, zero for those all-important plans.

“I’ll pick up a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk on my way home,” says the well-meaning spouse, unaware that these mainstays are the holy grail of blizzard shopping, long gone from the store’s shelves.

“We have deadlines to meet and meetings to attend, and we’re already running behind,” says another worker bee, unmoved by the storm. Except that nothing moves in a snowstorm, unless it’s a plow, and even then with difficulty.

The beauty of blizzards is the dent they make in our armor, the blow to self-regard, when blowing and drifting snow manages to shut down most worldly ventures. Nor must it be a back-breaker to dole out such insult. Piles of the powdery, nearly weightless stuff bring home the point.

Yet for all the dangers inherent in massive snowstorms, they come with surprising safeguards. For one, fewer fools are out on the roads, and fewer of them are texting. And the ones who are out are learning how to dance.

Major snowfalls demand a new choreography – a sort of two-step for radically reduced roads. The two-way street of other seasons is now a one-lane hazard, and nobody gets to barrel ahead. Each of us has to pull over, allow someone to pass, take turns being polite. It’s a mannerly business, this driving on snow-narrowed roads, and a boon to etiquette, as well.

Moreover, blizzards are arguably an old-fashioned, naturally occurring forerunner of Facebook. Friends in warmer parts see and hear the news of our whitened state, and they revel (briefly) in their shovel-free lives. Then their empathy kicks in, and they pick up the phone. Envious they’re not, as they’ll happily proclaim. At this stage of the season, we’re ready to allow that a long-distance strategy for dealing with Maine winters has some obvious merit.

A tropical island, anybody?

Most of us will welcome an end to winter when it arrives. But a blizzard every now and then is a useful thing, reminding us, as it will, of forces we don’t control.