Photo by Stéphane Juban on Unsplash

We woke 3 days ago to the kind of quiet that feels like something’s wrong. When I looked out the window, I couldn’t imagine how we’d slept through it, but our front yard and the walkway leading from our porch to our driveway were littered in tree debris. The mature trees that tower near our house, were doubled over, with clumps of dangling limbs. Our single-lane road was un-passable, waist-high in debris. And of course, the power was out. We joined our neighbors, piling up branches and Bob walked up and down the road, clearing a path. I called Rocky Mountain power and learned that several thousand customers were without power. Every time I called again, the estimate to restore it was moved later.

While my neighbor’s generator hummed, I caught up on reading and cleaning and was glad for our gas stove. In a way it felt like bonus time, because as much as I read, it’s always a two-fer—listening to Audible while on the treadmill or folding laundry—never curled up in front of the fireplace! It felt kind of luxurious.

I was reminded of two other extended power outages, one on Thanksgiving and one on New Year’s, which made those holidays more special. The Thanksgiving outage was in Seattle when I was in college. All over the city, a treasure hunt was on to find which family member had lights—never the intended host! Early in the day, people were seen loading turkeys into their cars for transport to whoever had a working oven. I’m sure it was a nightmare for the substitute hosts who might not have scrubbed their bathrooms for company, or located enough chairs, but there was a shrugging merriment to the responses I witnessed—a sense of fun and possibility. My own family wasn’t affected since the lights were on at my grandparents’ home, but my roommate and other friends told of gatherings made more special because of the disruption.

Then one New Year’s when my kids were 7 and 9, the power went out, so we gathered flashlights, pillows and blankets, and made ourselves comfy in front of the fireplace in my bedroom. I was still in my 1891 Victorian and was glad I’d had it repaired. Real wood glowed and kept us warm as we read our favorite story books. Out of all the new year’s celebrations with my kids, it’s my hands-down favorite.

Still, while it might be fun for a few hours, there’s nothing charming about being out of power for days on end. I was glad to wake up to digital glows on the third day following the storm.