Down East 2013 ©
It’s the beginning of March and all the land is dark and cranky. We’re on our fourth day without power and it occurs to me that these blackouts have been happening with regular frequency year after year. Perhaps our legislators should gather and declare mid winter “National Black Out Week.” Just make it official and we can all plan to go on vacation that week. Escape. High winds, severe rains, some snow, and poof….civilization is wiped out.
We bit the bullet last year and finally invested in a generator. It’s a noisy little thing that lets us take a shower and have a light on in the kitchen. Every time I go out and see my neighbors' dark houses, with plumes of wood smoke surling up skyward, I feel a ting of guilt. Having hot water when the house is dark and cold is a huge luxury I couldn’t have imagined — that generator is worth its weight in gold. Even better, my gas stovetop works and the refrigerator stays on, so I have been ranking out some simple meals ay home, with the assistance of much candlelight.
This all forces one to think about the “old days” in a new light (no pun intended). The myths about dining by candlelight, cooking by wood stove, filling the oil lamp loses its romance awfully quickly. Maybe we’ve all just gotten soft. For me the toughest part is not being able to read in bed. I just haven’t mastered the art of holding a flashlight and turning the pages of a paperback simultaneously.
For all those without power keep the faith. Last night driving home from a friend's house (who does have power) we turned onto our street and there were houses lit up like Times Square during Christmas week. My heart pounded — yes, we have light, Yes, we have heat. Yes, we will be back to normal. And as we turned the bend in the road, the bend that has been known to mark civilation from the “boonies” (the street is apparently in two different grids) there was the familiar darkness. A lone candle in someone's window. Dark houses at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night. Sleep quickly becomes your best option.
I am wanting to roast the root vegetables we got at the last winter farmer's market. I’m craving a roast root vegtabe salad, caramelized with high heat and sweet as the earth, tossed lightly with good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maybe some flakes of some local cheese being made nearby.
The darkness will lift. The light will return both inside and out. And I for one will have a new, deep appreciation of both.