Our power went out at about 7:30am on Sunday, August 28th as Hurricane Irene rolled through New England. For us, she wasn’t much more than a bunch of rain and some wind. We did a good amount of preparation in the yard, bringing in things that could blow around and be damaged or cause damage. We worried a bit about going through a hurricane with a baby in a house with no real interior doors. I have memories of some nights sleeping on the floor of our kitchen in Florida, away from the windows, even though we had shutters on all the windows. We got plenty of non-perishable food and water, toddler formula instead of milk, and got the flashlights, propane stove and battery powered radio down from the camping gear in the attic. I got cash in case of total lack of power. We hunkered down. Irene didn’t do much on our street except uproot one tree and take down some limbs and our power before the storm had hardly even started. We felt cut off all day, unable to see where the storm made landfall and how NYC fared against mother nature and flooding. Although the phone and internet held out for a few hours after the power went out, we eventually grew to miss Facebook, weather.com and calling home to Florida for updates from TV. We hung out with some neighbors we’ve known for years, got to know a few new neighbors a little better, and met some new to us neighbors as we all surveyed the damage – which was quite minimal. One of our neighbors brought us dinner and we settled in as the sun went down. After dusk, my boredom turned into excitement as life felt more like an adventure, moving from room to room with whatever small light source we had. I really liked living by the flicker of candlelight. What a pleasure to complete all my chores before dark and just relax. I didn’t miss my precious technology as soon as the sun went down. I think the whole neighborhood went to bed early, because all you could hear was nature, peaceful and quiet, mixed in with the hum of a generator about six houses down the street.
Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate a good friend’s birthday and when we came home the power was back on. Is it bad that I was disappointed? Is it bad that I longed for another night off the grid? I miss the simplicity of the darkness. I miss the wholesomeness of the quiet. Maybe I can take something from this situation. Maybe I can try to disconnect from technology in the evenings, spend a little less time checking email and Facebook, spend a little more time reading and writing.
(I can say all this because our power was only off for 36 hours. It did not affect our ability to get running water. I only showered once in that time, and I was lucky enough to get the leftover warm water in the hot water heater. We did, however, decide to throw away all of our food, especially meat that had begun to defrost, instead of risk getting food poisoning).