Matthew and I put the kids to bed last night, checked our respective work emails and decided to watch one of our shows before crawling into bed. The show (Modern Family) was cued up, we settled into the couch and then…darkness.
The power went out.
It had flickered approximately forty minutes before and we had both held our breath for the three second that our world went black and then, light returned. We then hauled out the candles and the flashlights and the generator (to keep the baby chicks warm) “just in case” and hoped that we wouldn’t have to use them.
The winds had kicked up after dinner and the temperature went from warm to cool in a matter of minutes. The rain started pelting and with the short blip of blackness we knew that there was a likelihood that the power would, indeed, go out for a longer period of time. We were right.
I know that the power going out might seem like a First World Problem, and I suppose that it is, but for me it’s not about the inconvenience. It’s about safety. Or rather, lack thereof.
You see, we live in the sticks, out of cell phone range. We have one of those corded phones that plugs directly into the wall and it’s good for calling BC Hydro to see what the ETA is for restored power and for calling anyone else we need to. So, we’re not completely cut off from the world, but it sure seems like it.
The bigger issue, for me, is our history with power outages. Nearly seven years ago, on a warm summer night, the power went out. We lit candles to give us light and to use as night-lights for the boys. One of those candles somehow, some way, set our house on fire and that’s just something that sticks with you. I don’t like darkness, I don’t like candles and I don’t like fire.
When the power goes out the memories of that night come flooding back and while I’m able to do all that I need to do to make the outage less inconvenient for my family, my heart races a little bit faster and my breath is a little bit shallower and my shoulders clench a little bit tighter and sleep isn’t really an option until I know that the power is back on and the generator is shut off and everyone is OK.
I am so very thankful for the miracle that occurred seven years ago that saw us getting out of here alive and well when the fire tried to take us down but that doesn’t mean that I think that we are out of the woods, so to speak. I am on guard. Always. The power doesn’t go out often but every time it happens I wonder why we live so remotely.
The good news is that the power came back on at 4:37 this morning and my daughter is fine after waking up, afraid, in the pitch darkness and coming in to sleep with us. The dudes are fine and baby chicks are fine and I am fine. Tired, but fine. I’m sitting at the table typing this and looking out the window and remembering why, exactly, we live out in the sticks. The good and the adventures and the laughter and the memories we’ve built here far outweigh the occasional powerless (and sleepless) night. It’s all worth it.