The winds here are Biblical. Planes and boats grounded. Our 10 foot trampoline is currently hanging out in a tree. Wild does not begin to describe it. With each gust I am sure the windows will blow in.
And then, silently, the power went out.
Welcome to life unplugged. Suddenly it is apparent just how much of our lives depend on this invisible power source that we take for granted – except for monthly grumbles about bills – first and foremost no light, and no heating. No phones, or internet – so my Skype interview was now off the cards… but I had no way of contacting the woman – cos no email, or Facebook. No internet so no research, no blog posting, or updating social media. Suddenly I feel very disconnected. Powerless. My lap top has 3 hours of battery. Suddenly so very precious. What will I do, I wonder, when it runs out? Tragically I can feel my anxiety rise at the thought of it.
I think of this evening – no hob or oven – so beans on toast… only to realise that that means no toaster too! So it’ll be beans on top of the wood burning stove, toast made on it.
The women in the office here have gone home – with no computers or phones there is little they can do. Downstairs the pottery is ominously quiet – no power means no till, no lights in the clay store, no pug, no wheels, no kilns, no way of heating the wax, no loud ram press thumping the clay into moulds. Quiet. Stillness. Except for the wild wind outside. We are returned to a slow, less distracted state of being. It is less easy to be busy, to be rushed or overwhelmed.
Maybe this is the answer. I know there is a trend for turning off our technology, for screen free time. But totally powering down, in the way that is being forced upon us, immediately forces our hands. It insists that we engage with the outdoors and each other, with our immediate surroundings. Suddenly I am not a global citizen, but very much rooted in the immediate environment – reliant on sun for light, fire for heat. I am powered down… and the irony is that when cut off from the grid – both power grid and extended human grid – I am once again turned on to myself and my immediate surroundings. I am reconnected with reality.
I love the internet… adore it in so many ways. Ditto ovens and TV … but part of me realises that this could be the way of the future – as power outages become more common due to adverse weather, energy wars and rising prices.
With our wood burner and store cupboards, candles and torches we are more resilient than most… but isn’t it incredible how quickly everything changes when the lights go out?
And so I wonder how we as individuals, as a family, as a community can remain powerfully connected, when we are power- less.
I guess we’re going to have to start learning fast!