The blessing of a power outage

On the last full day of hanging with family for the Thanksgiving holiday, I awoke to an unexpected boon, blown in through the wind in the pines—a tree had fallen and with it, the power to the town.

With the heat off in the cottage we were renting, staying warm was just enough pretext to get a fifteen-year-old, a thirteen-year-old and an 80 pound boxer-bulldog into bed with my wife and I for a morning snuggle.

With no electricity, there was no quibble over who had control of what should shimmer across those flat, black, mercifully dead screens.  There was no killing game, no manic sales pitch, no lurid laughter… just old-school quiet. 

After bread and jam, it was reading that dominated life for a few brief moments.  As my older son was clearing off a spot on a cluttered table, my wife asked him what he was doing and, in the absence of anything better, he answered, “homework.”  I found it ironic that the one vocabulary word he asked me about was, “gambol” whose synonym was “cavort.”

As I did a bit of yoga, a neighbor-kid and a cousin descended for a game of Monopoly—laughter and good cheer reigned with nary an adapter to be plugged nor a text to be thumbed (admittedly they could have texted, but somewhere inside they must have like just going with the Little House on the Prarie thing).

With this gentler tone in place, the kids all convened to celebrate another cousin’s eighth birthday, and the bigger boys were all excellent sports and kind cousins, rallying round a gymnastics themed party.

Sure, the power came back on later in the day as virtual sniper rifles and grenades eclipsed reading and board games once again.  Sure there was some drama, but it’s a big family and what else would we expect?  But there were Christmas lights twinkling in the dusk as we walked to the candy shop, so the electricity served some cozy uses as well, and there will be no take-backs on the blissfully dis-empowered and powerless morning when the only light that shined on us was sunlight through shimmering leaves.

Namaste, Bruce

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4 Responses to “The blessing of a power outage”

  1. BigLittleWolf Says:

    Lovely.

  2. Kristen Says:

    I am grateful to BigLittleWolf for turning me on to your blog. What exquisite writing I have found here! This post put me in mind of a powerless week during my youth (Hurricane Gloria knocked out power in our Connecticut town for several days) – doing puzzles and playing Trivial Pursuit by faint candle light. Togetherness, a sense of adventure. Thanks for conjuring up that memory for me this evening.

  3. Cathy Says:

    Love this! We spent a storm filled summer in Florida many years ago. I loved those nights we had without power. Games by candle light, talking memories of past events. Bonding in a way you can’t when the flip of a switch turns on other forms of entertainment.

    Makes me wonder, would the good will siblings have for each other during a power outage last if all they had for entertainment was each other?

  4. kelsey Says:

    It was one of the best times in my life and of course adrians too we love you all!!xoxox

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