Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Power Outages

This is a bit late, but I figured I'd write it anyway.

When hurricane Irene hit the East Coast, we were directly in it's path.  We had no high winds and very little flooding, but our power was out for a day and a half.

I loved it.

There's something about having no electrical power.  It's amazingly freeing!  We couldn't use the computer, the phone, the microwave, the stove, the lights....everything had to be done the old-fashioned way.  (Thank God, our water didn't go out.  That would not have been fun, because seven children use a lot of water.)

Me being me, I had to have something modern, so I took a bunch of random pictures.

My little siblings painted most of the day.  The table was covered  in paint sets and soggy papers.

I took pictures of the bouquet my dad had given my mom a few days before...

...but then I got bored and took pictures of the rug.

It stopped raining around lunchtime, so my mom, my sister Elisabeth and I ventured outside to see if there was any damage.  There was one downed tree, but otherwise everything was okay.

Left - right:  the downed tree, a large puddle, and a tree branch practically suspended in mid-air.  My mom got a kick outta that one! :)

When dusk fell, we went for a walk.  We wanted to save our candles, in case we needed them for a long time.  Everything was very peaceful, and the only lights were the solar lanterns that some families had in their yard.  You could see the candles moving from room to room inside of the houses.
As we came back, the stars came out.  The streetlights weren't there to block them out, so they twinkled down strong and bright.   (I did try to take a picture, but my camera refuses to capture stars.)

When we went inside, we shone flashlights in each other's faces until the candles were lit.
We lit these before we decided to take a walk.  That's why it's light outside.

I love candles.  I always have!  When I was a little girl, I went to Williamsburg with my parents and my uncle.  He told me that he'd buy me anything I wanted.

I got candles.   I came home with an armful of them, and I had them for years.

Anyway.  We made some lame attempts at storytelling before my mom rescued us by reading a real story.  My brother shone a flashlight for her, because the youngest, Louis, kept trying to grab the candle.

Finally, we went to bed.  Now, this is going to sound weird...but brushing your teeth by candlelight is super awesome.  Seriously!  It was so much fun.

My sister freaked out because it was "so dark!" and had to sleep on my bedroom floor, but I was in such a good mood from the candlelight that I didn't mind.

The next day, the power came back on around noon.  (Of course it would have to wait until after I had cooked lunch on the grill...)  Pretty much everybody was disappointed.  I guess a lot of it could have just been in my head, but it seemed like all the peace vanished instantly when the power came back.

That was the longest I've ever gone without power, and I think it taught me a lot.  It taught me that electricity is not all that important (as long as you have water), and that we rely on it too heavily.  It taught me that life is more fun when you have to rely a bit on yourself and nature.  On the practical side, this particular outage showed us what we done right and what we were lacking in terms of emergency preparedness.  (Some of the things we learned were that we should stock up on batteries, buy more dehydrated meals instead of just basic foods, and, most importantly, that propane stoves should be operated outdoors.)

If we have another outage now, we won't freak out.  And I shall light many candles and enjoy their lovely glow.


  1. Thank you for this beautiful post Victoria! We do take so many things for granted...such as electricity.....It is so easy to missuse these gifts and lose sight of what is really important. ....have a blessed day.....constance

    p.s. lovely pictures! esp. of the paint

  2. You're welcome! Thanks for the beautiful comment. :)

  3. I love, love, love, love, love candles! I usually light one while I'm doing school work. The other evening, my mother took my brother to practice and then went to pick up my dad. I was kinda in charge of dinner and setting the table and all that (mostly by choice), and my two sisters were upstairs. I dimmed the kitchen lights, set my laptop up on the kitchen island with two candles, and sat there by myself and worked on my novel. It was so beautiful! Unfortunately, taking care of dinner ended up taking most of the time.

    I also don't like to have bright lights right before I go to bed. I use the nightlight in the bathroom - so romantic!


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