End of the World?
Two nights ago the power went out.
Bam. Not just the lights, but the background hum of little motors around the house.
How inconvenient. It was getting dark. When I checked, the estimated restore time was 11pm.
There was still enough light left to read a book outside on the portch. Looking out on the dark neighborhood the internet felt remote, nearly imaginary.
What if the power never came back on? Would anyone care about my blog? Or the latest WordPress news? Or the millions of messages that flash around the world at the speed of light?
If the power never came back on, would we even remember the internet? Or all our little devices. Would it all sound so improbable to the future that if would be considered a myth? ... Long ago people thought they could see moving pictures and get messages from magic boxes...
The book I was reading was "The Healing Wisdom of Africa" by Malidoma Some. I learned that when a disaster happens in his West African culture, there is an assumption that something is out of balance and needs to be addressed.
Of course, this was not really a disaster, and what was probably out of balance was the tree that fell on the power line.
But the event got me to stop and think about our electrified support system. How I simply accept it the way my cats accept the can opener - totally dependent but mostly clueless about where it came from and how it works
As it happened, the power was still out in the morning. I woke to complete darkness and watched the sky grow pale over the trees in the east. The river was still whooshing from all the rain and the birds were chatting. I realized that I couldn't even heat water for a cup of coffee
The electrical things in my kitchen were useless. Even the garage door needed electricity to open.
Then, I remembered that there was a coffee shop nearby that I could walk to. My feet still had power!
Just about that time, BAM - the lights came back on. It happened suddenly, as if an invisible being had just arrived, making noise and flicking light switches.
I turned on the coffee pot - what a luxury!
But I ended up taking a walk anyway.