Sunday, March 6, 2011


Last night, in the midst of one of the biggest snow storms of the year, was our second power outage in a week. It went off at about 10 p.m, and came back on in the middle of the night sometime. Earlier in the week, it was off from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We have had roughly 6 or 7 outages since moving into this place 3 years ago, and it is always a bit of a mystery why it goes off. We live in a fairly large city, and our power grid seems to always be the one affected by these outages. We have family in town, and they have had maybe 2 or 3 outages in the past 3 years. So what's my point, you ask? Well, whenever it goes off, I am suddenly reminded how completely dependent we are on it, and it awakens me into the feeling of how lucky we really are, and how much we really do live in luxury. But it also makes me wonder. It makes me wonder what we would do if there was some sort of disaster (touch wood), and the power was out for several days. We would have no way to cook or heat food, our freezers would all defrost, spoiling all of the food we have in them, and we would have no way to heat our home. The closest thing we have to a fireplace is a gas insert in the living room, but it would hardly work, because the fan in it would not be powered. Simply put, it would be very hard on us. That kind of makes me sad. It is sad that we are so dependent, that our lives would have to drastically change if we were no longer able to rely on the government to provide us with power. It would also force us to simplify an incredible amount, making things a lot easier, but a lot more difficult at the same time.

A snow storm earlier this winter

I grew up in what can only be called the middle of nowhere. Seriously. We lived over an hour drive from the closest town, in a log house, surrounded by trees and lakes. We had two year round neighbours, and the rest of the cabins on our street were only filled during the summer months. It was amazing. I could not have asked for a better childhood. But it was also incredibly hard on my parents. Our house was a huge 3 floor log home that was heated solely by a wood stove in the basement, and later on, a pellet stove on the second floor. My dad spent a lot of his time just trying to keep the house warm. He cut down his own trees and stacked enough wood for the winter every year. I can still smell the garage where he kept the wood, and can still see the cast iron kettle sitting on top of the stove, a steady wisp of steam moistening the bone dry air. Our house was up in the mountains, so we had enormous amounts of snow every year, and the winter lasted a good 6 or 7 months each year. My mom canned, and made everything from scratch, because there was no other option. We did not have a lot of money, and I never knew that. I never felt deprived or lacking in any way. This upbringing has made me the person I am today. I really believe that all of the things I do today in life are because of what I was taught growing up.

What does this have to do with our recent power outages? Well, growing up in the boonies has made me accustomed to power outages. Once per year, every year as a kid, the power would go out for at least a week. My parents had to bury the frozen food in a cooler in the backyard, and we would eat meals that had been cooked on top of the wood stove by candlelight. And I don't ever really remember it being that different than regular life. I realize that this is a childhood memory, and I was probably very much unaware of how hard it was, but we made it through every year. I could not do that, nor could most people, in a modern day home.

Power outages make me realize how much we are programmed into our homes. I don't know how many times I automatically went to switch on the light last night. And it made me realize that our street lights completely overpower the natural light that the sky has at night. Looking up and seeing the huge flakes of snow falling silently from a pinkish night sky made me nostalgic for my childhood. Looking down our street, which was completely silent, made me realize how many beautiful trees we have surrounding us. Funny how a little darkness can make you see a whole new world. As we fell asleep in our silent world last night, we commented on how weird it was to not hear any humming of any appliances or any kind of background noise. Weird in a good way.

Have a lovely day,


No comments:

Post a Comment