The snow, that was not due until mid-afternoon, started accumulating early by 9:00 A.M.; enormous wet flakes blanketed everything. By 10:00 A.M., we lost power. Snow-laden live oaks, magnolias, and crepe myrtles bent low over power lines, severing them when their branches snapped. My MD family who had endured upwards of 40 inches and wind, had power!
Clearly an expedition to Lowe’s was in order – since we had no shovel, sand, or scraper. Doug bundled up, headed out, and returned with aforementioned gear plus a nifty lantern, battery -operated so we could read. During the first of the power outages we visited the library during the afternoon, and I got a biography of Mary Cassette and stories by Wallace Stegner. It seemed like a lark, especially when the power came back on in the afternoon, and we enjoyed dinner before the fire. Then we lost power at 10:30 P.M. and knew it might not be back on in the foreseeable future. But our neighbor across the street still had power.
I didn’t even have time to say goodnights to folks I was chatting with on-line! Click! Conversations over. The power goes, and so does light, warmth and the Internet. I tried reading.
But the blue-hue of the led isn’t comforting like the old-fashioned 60 watt-er. Besides I went to bed with all my clothes on and my scarf. (If my neck is warm, I am warm.)
And did it get chilly! The house went from 68 degrees to 57 degrees in the morning. But more than the chill and shadows cast by the fire and candles was sensation of a different kind of solitude. How did women homesteading this country make it without TV commentary, chatting on discussion boards, e-mail, face-book or blogging? And how do you do housework without electricity or hot-water? Or make breakfast? We bundled up for another adventure – in search of food. Our first stand-by was closed, our second, crowded; we finally settled on a friendly place, and shared our table with strangers, having a fine conversation and breakfast.
When we got back, the inside temperature dropped to 52 degrees, and when Doug left for the office – the aloneness became a bit menacing. It felt safer to be out and about falling limbs and globs of snow melting from bent branches. By three, I knew it was time to return home – and mercifully, I opened the front door, and was greeted by warm air.
I feel again my familiar solitude – heat, warm water, light – shelter. The people across the street were not so fortunate – it’s past 11:00PM and their homes are unusually dark – not a hint of light! Doug was told some folks in Dallas won’t have power until later in the weekend or even Monday!
Some people are on the streets in Dallas tonight – some have said they feel safer outside than in. That’s surely true for folks in Haiti! Today, I got a glimmer of feeling more threatened inside than outside.
I thank God for all the people who have risked their health and safety so I might have heat and warmth; I thank Him for all those who feed and shelter and care for others who have no homes.