The air nipped at my exposed skin as I hurriedly shoved my arms into my coat sleaves. After starting up the car I glanced at the dashboard where it read 32 degrees outside. An inward shiver propelled me to press the seat warmer button to high. I didn’t care if my butt got hot, I was downright cold.
All day it had been raining but instead of puddles of water, the raindrops were turning to ice as it touched the surface adding layers of ice that was quickly accumulating on trees, grass, and fences. Well, on anything and everything that ice can freeze on.
I made it home without any mishap and finished my charting at the counter while eating a snack. I was nearly finished when all the sudden it went dark. The only thing glaring at me was my laptop. Yup, the power went out.
Okay, I thought, no big deal. I’m a country girl and I know what to do.
I got my hurricane lamp out and lit it, yeah for me because I kept it full of oil and had spare oil in the cupboard. I checked on the folks and then waited for the power to come back on.
It’s amazing how quiet it gets when your senses are no longer dulled by the noise and activity around oneself.
The dog became antsy, so I let her out to do her business as I waited on the porch doing a little two step dance to keep myself warm. The dark night air was brisk and wet with a light rain and yet there was no sound of water collecting on the ground. It was kind of eerie. Then, ‘CRACK’. I stopped in the middle of my warm-up exercise and pointed my flashlight towards the loud sound but couldn’t see anything.
“What in the Sam Hill was that?” I spoke to the darkness. Then before I had a chance to ponder about the noise, ‘SNAP’! What in the world was happening?
All evening we could hear ‘CRACK’ and ‘SNAP’ of tree limbs breaking.
The next morning, I woke up to a crystal ice land. Very pretty but, tree branches, telephone poles, transformers and power lines continued to break and snap all through the day as the ice kept building in size. From all the breakage of tree limbs there was a smell of like freshly cut wood that permeated the outside air.
The battery-operated radio blared out news that many folks were out of power in the area. I was thankful for wood in the shop that I hauled up to the house to keep the fire going in the woodstove. The bummer part was that our well didn’t work so we resorted to pouring water into the toilet tanks just so we could flush them.
Cell service, phone service and internet service was nonexistent which made it difficult to communicate with family and friends.
As the days passed, I had made a few runs to fill up our gallon jugs with water. Cooking on the wood stove was an interesting experience but we had hot food. There was a run-on gasoline and the stores rationed water to two gallons per household. Several streets had roadblocks due to downed telephone poles, power lines, and trees which made it difficult for me to get to my patients.
Let me put it simple, it was a mess outside and I felt unprepared for this natural disaster.
Oh how I missed the convenience of electricity. Even cleaning oneself was cold and awkward. I felt like I had an inch of yuk on me until one evening I finally gave in and took a spit bath in the tub. I about froze my hiney off just to get clean! 😐
This went on for ten days and at that point the power company had said another seven days with no power. Great.
You don’t know what you got until it’s gone. Boy, isn’t that the truth!
But, amid my yearning for electricity I rediscovered something special. The simple quiet life where time moves along at a snail’s pace. There is not much a person can do after dark without power, so I donned on a head lamp and read a book. My folks and I sat around the woodstove and had conversations. It was nice not having the television noise, or the internet and social media occupying my time.
My friends brought over some generators and I was able to catch up on what was happening in their lives. I know some awesome people who are always reminding me how blessed I am to have their friendship.
Good friends are those who care without hesitations . . . Who remember without limitations, and who remain the same even without communications.
Day ten, the power was back on and slowly our community is starting to get back up running like it had before the outage.
I guess my takeaway thought from this experience is, enjoy the simple times as they cross your path because they seem to be far and fewer these days.
Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. – Dr. Seuss.