This past weekend, the worst storm in over 10 years blanketed my property in 2 feet of snow. Power was out for 3 days. No Internet... no radio... no Netflix. My husband was away on business, so I found myself shoveling mountains of snow, and trudging through the snow to carry water and food to my shell-shocked goats and chickens.
I stayed with my father-in-law so that we could keep each other company. I felt grateful to have human companionship, not to mention gas heat and a gas range. The house was calm without my Ipod. The silence was broken by the calls of hawks, finches and blue-jays.
During the silence after dark, we talked by the warm glow of a turn-of-the-century kerosene lamp. He told me stories about his grandparents, and family back in Norway and Poland.
Stories from his boyhood in the orange groves of Southern California. I told him about the time my house burned down when I was a baby, and about my grandpa's dairy farm.
We made lavish meals: fettuccine alfredo with home-made pasta, pizza with cornmeal crust and caramelized onions. We drank sweet, organic honey-blackberry wine. After a couple hours talking by lamp light, we turned in early. I boiled water on the stove for washing. Each morning I awoke feeling wonderfully refreshed after 10 hours of sleep.
When the power went back on, I was happy to hear the sounds of NPR, do a load of laundry, and feel hot water running out of the faucet. The snowy quiet time gave me a deeper appreciation for our vintage and antique treasures, and the times they come from. Times when the main power sources were elbow grease and imagination, and families gathered to enjoy each others company in the lamplight after dark.