Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nostalgic for the dark

We went without power for a total of five days after Hurricane Irene. It wasn't a totally bad experience. In fact, the first couple of days after the power came back on, I felt nostalgic for the dark.

Around 7 p.m., it would start to get dark inside the house and we would light candles at the dining room table, eating dinner and playing board games.  Later, we each read by flashlight or lantern, cozy in chairs or our own beds. All was quiet save for the loud hum of neighbors' generators and the song of cicadas, heard through our open windows.

I would have been glad for another few days of it—it felt romantic to read by candlelight, even to boil water for morning tea on the camp stove outside. And I could have withstood even the increasingly cold and quick showers. It was almost like camping, taking us from our normal electronic realities. Even better, I read a short story every night without worry that there was something else I needed to do because there was nothing else I could do.

But while we read and talked, our freezer was slowly defrosting its contents. The 7-lb. bags of ice from 7-11, replenished each day, did little to stop the sickening descent of frozen food warming to room temperature. After the power came back on, I spent half a day wiping out the refrigerator and the freezer and throwing out two big garbage bags of food. 

With electricity there was suddenly laundry to do, email to be answered, bread to be baked, gadgets to be charged. I haven't managed to sit down and completely read a short story in one sitting since then.

Of course, the next time we lose power (we seem to lose it at least twice a year), it may be 20 degrees outside. This bit of nostalgia was possible only because we had beautiful weather and easy access to restaurants/food. Still, I wonder how I might recapture that lovely, justified feeling that no matter what I was doing then, it was all that I could and should be doing.

1 comment:

Susan Scher said...

I was looking for blogs of other writers and found yours. I love it! It's just do pleasant. It's nothing like mine, and, while I like mine, yours does give me some ideas for new directions. Mine is http://inotherwordsgroup.com/category/blog/