I find it interesting how the world transforms when all power gets cut and there is a blackout. It’s as if we’re living in an alternate universe where what occupies our time, what catches our attention, and what we spend effort on drastically changes. The light is different, and so everything literally takes on a distinct hue. We open blinds, curtains, and windows we probably haven’t touched in forever to let a little more light and the occasional breeze in. We’re a slave to nature and we’re the ones adjusting to what it can give us, taking everything that we can get.
Everything seems to be more primitive, too. None of the electronic appliances that make our lives so much easier are available to us in times like these. Instead of a microwave, we steam our food. In the absence of an electric kettle that gets us a boil in a minute or less, we wait patiently for the stove to give us our hot water. Again, we find a place in the room that we can get the most sunlight in order to see what we are eating and still get to enjoy it without straining ourselves too much.
Living in a big house with lots of family members, we’re used to staying in our rooms and meeting up for a meal once or twice a day. Now, when communication is limited because there’s no cell signal and Wi-Fi that enable us to talk to our friends unhampered, we actually get to talk to the people who are with us at home in the flesh. We listen with our whole bodies, our whole hearts, our whole spirits, when there are no screens to distract us from being fully present and in the moment.
As the day wears on and darkness starts to take over more fully, we start adorning the house with candles in all the darkest corners. I was taken back to my childhood, when blackouts were normal and my siblings and I would actually look forward to our hide and seek adventures, our storytelling in order to scare each other out, casting shadows on the walls with our hands and creating sounds for the monsters our silhouettes would form. We let the night and the mystery it evoked completely seduce us into the excitement it had in store. We were at its mercy and we secretly relished it. I was actually looking forward to eating in the dark and maneuvering through the house in the same mood again.
As we were starting to settle into the darkness, the electricity came back on. I admit I was relieved because I knew people didn’t have to suffer through inconveniences they had to endure when there was no power. But there was a part of me that felt a bit disappointed that we weren’t able to live out our childhood abstractions just a little bit longer. Even though getting the power back was a good thing, of course, it was still refreshing to be without the natural comforts of light, electricity, and the hyper connectedness to everyone online, and just being in the moment and enjoying its simplicity more.
As I was closing my windows in order to accept and welcome the normalcy again, I smelled the cool breeze by the tree near my room and got comforted by the whiff of its damp calmness. I’m happy the storm is over. I’m thankful we got through it unscathed.