Friday, April 11, 2008

life in the olden days

Yesterday morning I awoke with the familiar feeling of needing to use the restroom. As I slipped out of bed, I curiously glanced at the clock on the nightstand. A black screen stared back at me. Confused and half asleep, I reached out and touched it, I suppose to confirm what I already knew - there were no numbers. Walking into the bathroom, I flipped both light switches although I was now fairly certain that nothing would happen. I was right - our electricity was out. It was "out", as if it had decided to go for a leisurely morning drive to pick up the newspaper, a coffee, and some bagels. I hoped it would return quickly. In the semi-dark, I climbed the stairs, feeling that there was something unfamiliar in the air. I checked my phone - 6:32am. Phew! It was only 17 minutes later than we were supposed to get up. On my way back downstairs, every "no electricity survival tip" that my parents had taught me came rushing into my mind: grab a flashlight, light some candles, don't open the refrigerator any more that you have to, be careful not to use all the hot water in the shower. I woke Heath up and while he prepared for the day, I fed and changed Ainsley and put her back in bed. And then it hit me, the unfamiliarity - it was the unusual stillness of the morning, no whirring ceiling fans, no gentle hum of the refrigerator, no drone of the AC. It was so quiet, it was almost creepy. Is this what it was like before electricity? I never really think about how noisy my life is with it.
I began to think through my normal morning activities. Which of them, if any, could I actually accomplish? I definitely could not work because I had to access my work computer from the home computer which would not run without the electricity. Laundry and dishes were off the list; I was glad that I was caught up with both anyway. I couldn't work on budget stuff because I needed my laptop for that. It seemed that I was down to the basics...take a quick shower and then read. I was glad. I've had books piling up that I want to read; this was the perfect chance to just read guilt-free. So I did - I relished my quiet, distraction free day. I finished two books, which were both wonderful in their own ways. I played with Ainsley more than I usually do, which was quite fun! If she were older, we would have spent the day pretending we lived in the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House in the Big Woods. Those days will come quickly enough, so for now she sat in her Bumbo and grinned. And I had time to think about how I love the little things in life - wildflowers growing beside the highway, a monarch alighting on a twig, watching Ainsley play with her hands, listening to the birds sing their sweet song. I don't ever want to get to the point where I ignore these things.

When Heath returned from class & work, we all went for a walk and out for dinner. We even stopped to talk with our neighbors, something we are usually too shy or too busy to do. Not having electricity made us bolder, more alert, and more compassionate toward our neighbors. It was great to connect with people so different from us.

The day began unlike any other day and ended in the same way. And despite my dislike of change and spontaneity, it was surprisingly refreshing. It made me wish that I was born in the olden days...almost. I really like that we have plumbing.


Kendra said...

yay!! she's using the bumbo!!! i'm so excited! she's getting so big! love love LOVE the overalls!

Keenan said...

i had to read that about 3.5 times before i realized that it said "bumbo" not "dumbo" ... i was like, what does ainsley need with a floppy eared flying elephant?