Sometime over the night our power went out. My alarm clock woke me up around 3:30 am with the cd player whirring as it tried to reset itself. I reset the clock and alarm and went back to sleep. Power was still on at 4:30, but within 15 minutes it went off again. I ate breakfast in the dark, stared longingly at my computer screen, sitting there are black and lonely-looking, and decided that if we didn't get our lights on again soon I was going to have to just be late to work, since there was no way I was going out in public with morning hair.
While I was eating my bowl of cold cereal by the light of my scented candle, I of course wondered how long it would be out, why it went out, and what could be fed to the two pickiest children on earth that didn't require electricity to prepare. My mind wandered back to February of 1979, when in the wake of a massive windstorm, we went without power for several days. The storm, which we later learned had blown and sunk out a half mile section of the Hood Canal Bridge, reached wind velocities averaging 80 miles per hour. According to the US Weather Service, some gusts may have reached as much as 115 miles per hour. We were living on Marrowstone Island at the time, a small community in Puget Sound. Marrowstone is about 7 miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide at the widest point. We lived on the belt of the island, on East Beach road and I could stand on our road and see water at both ends, Mystery Bay to the West and Puget Sound to the East.
It was a hell of a blow. I woke in the middle of the night to hear trees snapping and falling and my horses shrieking like crazy idiots. Dad and I braved flying tree limbs to get them in the barn so they'd feel safe.
For days after the storm, while local husbands and sons helped out the county crews by helping to remove the fallen trees from the countless miles of road in our county, we lived like pioneers. When they built the house we lived in, my parents had installed an antique wood stove. It was vented and the floor and wall around it bricked so that it could be used if needed, although we had an electric stove. Thank goodness for that old Modern Acorn. It was still cool in February, so not only did that stove keep us fed, it kept us warm. We couldn't get off the island to get to a store and it was too early in the year for gardening, but our chickens were still laying eggs, and we had a pantry full of dry goods. Milk could be gotten from our neighbors up the road who still kept a dairy cow that they milked every morning. Bathroom time was a bit of an issue - our water came from a well and our toilets fed into a septic system that required a pump to run, so unless it was an extreme middle of the night I need to go RIGHT NOW emergency, we took a short walk to the county park at the end of the street and used the wooden outhouses. We lit candles at night and for entertainment we read books and played games. It was a rustic few days, and interestingly enough, I look back on it with fondness and nostalgia.
Could you just imagine if I had to do it now? DISASTER. Life without internet? Warcraft? Television? DVD player? Cell phone charger? MICROWAVE? Forget it.
Twenty minutes later when my power came back on I knelt and kissed the power outlet that feeds my computer.