I remember the thrill of the power going off in my childhood home. We lived on a farm in the country. Blackouts occurred during thunder or winter storms. I liked them best when they happened in the evening. Then the whole house fell silent, and Mom and Dad would get out the kerosene lanterns and candle sticks, and I would start imagining I was Laura in Little House on the Prairie. Going to bed by candlelight was especially thrilling.
So when the power went out today from 2:15pm until 6:15pm today, I knew my kids would love it. Zoe raced out of school, thrilled that the lights had been out for the last hour of school. I took the long way home to avoid the traffic lights, which were out too. The girls giggled all the way, planning the fun things they were going to do now that the power was out.
Why is there this thrill about having the power out?
It seems to make life, or our choices, more simple. It certainly limits them. Shegofa compared it to Afghanistan, where they have electricity in only the rich areas of the city. In other areas, they have power one day, then none the next.
But we depend on it for our food. Sure, for today we could eat sandwiches and things from our powered-off fridge, but heating things up? There's no appliance in our house that could do that - well, maybe the barbeque. And heat? Our gas fireplace in the basement would still work, but that's it.
The winter stew I had planned for supper would have to wait for another evening. Tonight it would be take-out from a grocery store across town that still had power. The table was set with candles and an oil lantern. But just minutes before we sat down, the power came back on, and with it, the buzz of the fridge and the hum of the furnace and the warm air filling the room, and a feeling of warmth. We would not have to shiver under covers tonight.
But in how many homes in our world do they shiver every night? I'm so conscious of this right now. We're in the midst of house-hunting. This time feels much different than when we bought our first house 6 years ago. For this one, it feels like we're playing for keeps. Which puts the pressure on in a different way too. We've had two disappointments - one just this past Monday - where we've put in offers and they've fallen through. Because we're competitive, when someone ELSE gets the house, it seems even better than what we had initially thought. Then we REALLY want it. But I keep thinking of Shegofa's family in Afghanistan - where they have no heat at night, and their winter has been much worse than ours. Where they don't have electricity. Where they haven't ever shopped for their dream home, but just a home. So then I feel selfish for wanting a nicer home.
What does your dream home look like? Mine has a hearth, of course. And space to host others (which our present home seriously lacks). And some older elements. And some natural elements. And a maid.