Will and I were driving, planning on running a few errands, yesterday when we first glimpsed the dark – almost black – storm clouds. We headed home instead. Fat raindrops began to fall around us as we went inside. By the time I reached the rear of the house to let the dogs out, rain was coming down in swirls, pounding the house and the ground. The storm had come on very suddenly. Wild winds tugged at the trees and branches outside.
Thunder rolled in, with intermittent flashes of lightning. I dashed through the house, shutting the windows as raindrops burst through the screens on all sides of the house. And when it was all over, only sporadic rain, darkness and silence remained. No power, no familiar hum, nothing.
I never imagined a 4 p.m. power outage would last more than a few minutes, an hour at the most. After all, the fierce storm blew in and out with relative quickness. But the outage remained through the night and into today.
Yesterday, Will and I played, unable to leave the house for wet conditions. And time wore on and on. I called the electric company once, twice, three times, with no clear picture of when our power would return.
Dinner sat, partially cooked, in the Crock-Pot. That wasn’t meant to be. Finally I called for a pizza, learning that the pizza parlor was serving pies and salads only. Fortunately, a pie was all we needed.
Driving through town was an eerie ride. Darkness was everywhere – stoplights extinguished, businesses closed, houses unlit. Even the pizza parlor we went to sat in darkness (thank goodness for alternative power sources for the pizza ovens).
Across town, things were worse. Trees tugged at power lines and over a dozen roads were closed. Travel was near impossible. We returned home, thankful I’d gotten cash back at the grocery store that morning. The pizza hit the spot.
Another call to the phone company revealed an estimated return of power – 11 p.m., today, more than a day later. Will headed off to bed in semi-darkness leaving me alone.
Our house isn’t prepared for instances like this. Candles are few, and hidden. Matches are nearly non-existent. I rounded up supplies for the darkness, wishing that the recording got it wrong. Then I rushed around, clearing spots on tables and removing obstacles. A dark night would be a tough one in our rural home. Then I stepped out onto the still-light porch and did something I don’t do often: I read. For hours I read, first on the porch until the last lights died away. Then later on our bedroom which I lit up with dancing flames on wicks around the room.
And all I could think last night was how grateful I was to the staff of My Place for dishing out the pizzas without power so people like us could still eat dinner. And how grateful I was for living in a town where the drivers were so considerate of each other, taking turns and not rushing through intersections when the lights were out. It’s a good place to live.