Sunday, November 6, 2011

Homage to a Power Outage

For the second time in two months, we have found ourselves in the midst of a week long power outage due to storms.  The first, a hot summer hurricane which toppled eight of our old trees, though sparing our house, cars and possessions.  The second, an October snowstorm which robbed us of our Autumn and blanketed all remaining red and gold in heavy, white snow.  So heavy, that trees that have withstood hundreds of years of unpredictable weather, thousands of pounds of snow and ice, and winds strong enough to topple houses, bent to the ground, bowing to the strange storm.  Many snapped and crashed through houses, on cars, taking down power lines in a domino effect, leaving the vast majority of our state in unseasonably cold darkness.

Being without power is difficult.  Having children you cannot explain this too make things more difficult, the first day.  Then there is a second day, and a third.

I remember hurricane Gloria.  I remember the excitement I felt as a child, taping up the windows and staring through the small space in the basement, looking up at a greenish, whirling sky and watchings the silvery undersides of leaves whip furiously around each other and tear off.  I was in the dark, with my parents, and it was fun.  I remember eating food that was cooked on our wood stove, playing board games by candlelight and sleeping on our bellies on blankets in the living room.  This is one of my fondest memories as a child.  I felt completely safe, and warm, and happy, and loved.  It was exciting, different, and an opportunity to be with my family like I never had before, and haven't since.  I am reminded that these things which annoy adults to no end, are likely creating happy life long memories in the eyes of our children.

Now my children will likely not remember these days.  They don't care if that have been bathed, what they look or smell like, if they have clean clothes or what they play with.  My daughter spends much more time playing with food and laundry and my shoes that any of her toys, even combined.

People are so angry.  They are cursing each other out, throwing hot coffee, raging at complete strangers who actually are trying to restore normalcy.  Did we not survive as a human race before electricity was in every home?  Did we not find ways to entertain ourselves for centuries?

I was bored.  I missed my internet, my DVR, long hot showers, doing laundry.  But it is nothing but electricity.  It is essential, I know.  But we have witnessed not long ago a significant part of our country ravaged by hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, and we are fortunate to have lost only electricity.  I still have my house, my cars, all my possessions and above all else my family.  A week without lights?  I am reminded too often of how good life is to curse my neighbors.  (I also highly recommend a generator, which seems to take the edge off).

There is just something that can't be duplicated about the taste of food cooked over a fire, or the beauty of a child when they dance in candlelight.  There is a rejuvenation that comes of being unable to access the internet no vacation can bring.  Or the fun of playing cards and drinking wine with my husband, instead of spending nights bent over computers with reruns in the background.  There is no amount of oil that can warm me as much as my family of four huddled in one big bed together, sharing a blanket.  A week without electricity has taught me only again, how amazing life is, here and now.  How fortunate we are to have all we do, and how we have no control over so many things.

A week without electricity.  That is just fine.  Because I have all the power I need.