Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When the grid goes down I walk in the starlight

When the grid goes down, I like to take a little walk outside. First, I'll turn all my lights off. Since I make a substantial part of my own electricity the lights only go out when turned off. My lovely wife is tolerant of this eccentricity and plays along.

I go outside. If I'm lucky there's a moon or starlight. I know my way around so I don't need much light.

At first I just listen and savor the quiet. I may hear the whoosh of tires on the road a half mile away. There may be the sound of a train in the distance. Mostly though, I hear the natural sounds of the woods. If I'm lucky I may hear a whip-poor-will or the bard owls that live nearby. The woods are alive with the sounds of critters doing their things.

Eventually someone will get a generator going. There are a few of them around the lake. As they fire up, I can usually tell who they belong to. Before long two or three will be going, drowning out the natural night sounds.

I'll stroll over to the elderly widow's place. She'll have some sort of emergency light on. In the winter I might check to see if there's smoke coming out of her woodstove's chimney. I leave her alone. She's a private person. Still, I do keep an eye on her to make sure she's fine.

After than I'll come back in the house and turn a light on. Probably check the radio to see if there's any news about the outage. In the winter I'll throw an extra log or two on the fire. I'm usually in a contemplative mood. Those dark quiet moments harken back to a more primitive time, a time that resonates with me.


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