Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A (Flash) Light in the Dark

Many of my more Northerly friends are still suffering the effects of a freak early winter storm in October that hit the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas.  Many are still without power thanks to snow-covered trees, downed power lines and outdated power grids. My sympathies to all.  I have suffered similar fates last summer after Hurricane Irene’s wrath and the Blizzard of 2009, which left my area with almost 44 inches of snow.  You must look at the light in the dark.

Last summer we did not have power for 6+ days.  My kids revolted and constantly reminded me to call the local electric company to report our outage as if repeated calls would really make a difference. My husband groaned and cursed at the lack of TV, computers and convenient appliances.  He called every electrical company in the area to install a generator but to no avail.  The price tag on some models topped 10 grand for the capacity he wanted.  Knowing the constant and annoying groan of a neighbor’s up the block and the cost, I objected and for once, got my way. 

Although humorously complaining on Facebook about my travails, I actually enjoyed the quiet.  Without air-conditioning, the open windows welcomed the sounds of crickets and the passing of the occasional car down the street.  Everyone listened intently and earnestly for the diesel-powered utility trucks to save our day or better night.

Like a child after a prescribed bedtime, I took a flashlight and read a record of four novels during those nights without the interruptions that “normal” life affords me.  It was glorious.  I could hear myself think for a change.

Similar circumstances happened in the Blizzard of 2009 although complicated by a heating challenge.  Squirrel- like I prepare for such adversities and use chain saws to cut down dead wood in the backyard and store a good woodpile.  I try not to buy back up “Duraflames” but I usually cave in to that too.  With a fireplace, a good book, my outdoor propane grill, my dogs at the time and a few cats, I was all set since the house temperature plummeted to an uneasy 52ºF. It was a one-dog-two cat-three blanket night.  Bedtimes actually feel better in the morning when they are before 10pm.

No one has ever accused me of being an optimist.  I am a realist and a survivalist.  No I am not going to go hiking in the Antarctic to prove it, but I would rather stay home and make the best of a situation.  Hopefully also in the quiet.

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