Day 3 of no electricity due to a recent storm.
Day 3 of no internet (without driving to another location). Day 3 of no unlimited life on the phone (without driving elsewhere to charge). Day 3 of no television, radio, CD player, Netflix and other entertainment choices powered by electricity.
Day 3 of no way to straighten or curl hair. To flip a switch and see your face well enough to “fix it”, as my mother used to say.
Day 3 of realizing you should have done the laundry…because you’re almost out of underwear.
Day 3 of your long-haired dog panting and looking at you with imploring eyes.
Day (and night) 3 of getting candles set up in the right places so when the sun goes down, you can walk through your residence without crashing into anything. And of sitting still on the couch and listening to the occasional traffic, or hearing neighborhood children outside playing, or a mockingbird serenading its top 40 bird songs.
Day 3 of just being. Other than the stress of having to figure out when you need to be somewhere to receive work emails, you are for all practical purposes, truly without power.
As in powerless.
Of course, we are always powerless. But we don’t know that. With so many gadgets and plug-ins and apps, we really are the masters of our universe most of the time, at least in our den.
At least in our minds.
Yet let one good 100 mph microburst show up, and everything suddenly gets very dark.
For some, it’s truly the first time they have ever really just had to be. And it makes them quite uneasy.
Just sitting, listening to the sounds of the evening, thinking, meditating, breathing. Or, fidgeting, fretting and letting frustration win.
What if life was always like this? If you finished your work, had your dinner (which came only from what you had grown or raised), and now spent your evening by candlelight, with no external stimulation?
it’s interesting that we have come so far in so many ways, obtained so much knowledge, learned about so many wonderful cultural opportunities, expanded our minds as never before, and yet, when we can’t “turn something on”, something that it outside of us, that does not directly engage with us, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
Withdrawal can be very hard.
I confess it’s illuminating (even in the dark) to realize just how dependent I am on white noise…on an electronic presence in the room that seems to “connect” me to other people and feels safe and familiar. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying that. But I wonder, does it keep me from a little too comfortable?
As baby boomers and beyond, we’ve had so many different experiences, and we’ve more than earned the right to enjoy sitting on the couch and watching movies, or listening to music, or just enjoying being inside the air-conditioning. But maybe very once in a while, we should pretend we don’t have electricity, and power ourselves down.
And sit in the dark. And hear the symphony that is the night: a breeze, laughter, the hoot of an owl, gentle rain.
It might help us remember just how powerless we really are. I”m okay with that.
But I confess…I’d rather do it when it’s 60 degrees.