"Luxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are."
I was looking for a way to express how I felt about the power being out, and I stumbled upon this quote. It so elegantly stated what I was trying to tease from my brain and to my tongue.
You see - aside from this foray into the outside world which brought us to the library - we haven't got any power. And it's already been more than 24 hrs, with a day or more still to go. At first, being without power always seems like a great adventure: forts! books! card and board games! conversation! candles!
Then a few hours tick by, and you want to flick on the tv. Or eat something warm. Or shower. And the adventure gets a little boring, because real life power outages do not have the sentimental soundtrack of movie power outages. It can get tedious, especially for a generation raised with computers, MTV, and gameboys/PSPs.
Lucky for me, I had just reread my beloved copy of "Pride & Prejudice," this week, and was well into my other favorite novel "The Three Musketeers," when Irene hit. What does this have to do with a lack of electricity? Well, P&P and Musketeers are my two favorite novels. For most of my life I've known and admired the characters in their pages, and wished to live in a different time. A time of refinement and and romance, or adventure and passion. The older I got, the better I understood things like vaccinations, hospitals, literacy rates, and women's rights, but these essentials never quite drove away my wistful admiration of times gone by. Times without power.
Which made me realize how very new and modern a convenience electricity really is. How recent the lightbulb, let alone the laptop, is to society. The very novels I love, populated with characters I deeply admire, were penned by sunlight, candlelight, and maybe an oil lamp. Like the Declaration of Independence. And the Holy Bible. The works of Socrates, the Magna Carter, Wuthering Heights, and anything/everything by Shakespeare. Just like the Pyramids, the Great Wall, Notre Dame de Paris, and much of Vatican City were constructed without electricity to ease the back breaking labor. Some of mankinds greatest accomplishments were achieved without aid of something we now consider a basic need.
I'm not exactly excited to be without lights, hot water, or phone. I don't live in a house set up with a stove or oven or fireplace workable without electricity, so much of my food is no good and I will incur either hunger pains or high costs for prepared food. My packing will be slower, but overall I will have what I need.
Games to play with my family by candlelight. Useful things (packing, sorting, tending my garden) to occupy my hands. Someplace safe to sleep.
And always, access to the deep creativity that lives within us all, that spark of Divine that lit thousands of years without electricity.
Here's hoping the power comes back soon, and that I never loose the appreciation of what is beautiful and good again.