08 November 2011

October Snow

For quite a few days we were without power here in our little New England town. A heavy, wet snow came quickly to the ground, weighing down the fall leaves, breaking countless branches and downing power lines. It was as I have never seen it before. Really. Our cobalt blue stove kept us warm and I was, as I often am, grateful to live in a tiny, south facing house, whose large windows provided us with an abundance of light and warmth during the day. We gathered snow to melt for washing dishes and to give to the sheep and chickens. The new icy snow became our fridge.

Our brick sided elementary school became a shelter for those who needed help keeping warm, some company or a good meal. Its ever changing message board out on its front line read, "Good neighbors lend Things, Great neighbors lend Themselves".  And indeed they did. Friends, whose power was restored before ours, were quick to invite us over for a feast of chicken and barley, chocolate cupcakes, wine and music. They made an extra batch of it all for us to take home in their cherry red dutch oven for dinner the following evening.  Our 98 year old friend who still lives alone down a long dirt road was taken in by her neighbors. There they lingered around the breakfast table in robes and slippers, spent evenings by the wood fire with nothing to do but enjoy each others company.

That is what I was reminded about most of all during those days. The true, generous spirit of people. We can, us New Englanders, be a quiet, private bunch at times. But with only the slightest of prodding we will be there to help, to offer companionship, to take care of our community. We will break through our shells in the most honest and good natured way. A sign at our co-op read, "Free Coffee and Shelter at the Town Hall until Everyone has their power back on!"

Our life which is very quiet and simple became even more so. There was no hum of the refrigerator, no tick of the clock. It felt like washing dishes became a whole morning activity. Our evenings were spent by candle light, drawing and reading and crawling into bed even earlier then we go to bed now. When we went to a local store to get a few more head lamps, they too were out of power. And so a receipt was written by hand. Hand to pen, pen to paper. How intimate! I was thrilled to be able to feel a bit like Anne of Green Gables, because who doesn't want that!

So, when the power clicked back on one night there was lots of dancing and singing but also, I admit, just a little disappointment.

I am however feeling forever grateful for the true gift of clean running water and electricity. How lucky we are to have it. What a privilege. And I know, in truth, that I could only enjoy it because I knew it was only a matter of time until our lights clicked back on again.



  1. I was clicking link to link, site to site, page to page, blog to blog, a crazy type of computer channel surfing that I have fun with and do all-to-often. The picture in the corner of your page caught my attention. Something about her face, about the hen (or is it a rooster), was oddly in-tune with the theme I would like to someday use to remodel my kitchen. Goosebumps!
    Then I discovered that your fish would chase my pointer. LOVE IT! I was way too amused! I won't say how long I played around with the fish, just that they are now pretty tuckered out and should have a very good night's sleep. I play with them every time I visit your page, sometimes I visit just to play and forget about my day. I know, I am amused easily. Please don't ever turn them into fish sticks.
    Then I opened my email today and got lost in your post about the power outage. Oh how I miss talking with people who speak as beautifully as you write. What an art. You reminded me of a place I had long forgotten, a place I once called home. The candles flickering and dancing, the fire warm and crackling, thoughts of neighbors and how they were doing during this moment from times past. I feel the world would be a better place if we all experienced a short-term power outage now and again, something to force us back in time, to a time when things moved slower, with a purpose, where neighbor would reach out to neighbor without judgment or ridicule.
    Ahhhh, a person can dream, can't they?
    Blessings to you and yours,
    Thank You,
    Susie Frees suzannefrees@att.net

  2. I remember the years when we had what we called "power regime", I don't really know the appropriate phrase in English - we spent days on end with 2 hours power and 3 hours out of power. It used to happen regardless of season and winter can be pretty cold without electricity but I remember the same feeling you describe - of candles and coziness nothing else but darkness can create. And the inevitable disappointment when the power was up again and everything was bright and boring for us kids. I remember my parents allowed me to listen to a service called "stories on the phone" in those dark hours - you could dial a number and listen to a lovely lady telling a story!

    Ariana, your photo and your post are simply wonderful, I would love it if you link to the Through the Looking Glass linky (http://blog.kanelstrand.com/2011/11/scandinavian-autumn-november-in-norway.html) on my blog.

    Your post will be such an asset!


  3. wow, that's a lot of snow! stay warm.

  4. Thank you for you nice comments! Yes! It was a lot of snow. It is already all gone and the sun is our again! Sonya, I will take a look at your link even though I'm not so savvy with things like that. It will be nice to see what you are up to! Something clever, I am sure! And...thanks for stopping by Susie!
    Take care, you three! a.


I read and cherish all of your comments! It really feels like such an honor that you stopped by this little space of mine. Thank you so much! Cheers!

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