Thursday, February 05, 2009

it aint over til it's over

On day five we were up early. Two electric utility truck were parked nearby. Oh, boy! I thought. Surely we'll have our power back before the day is out. Dorothy and I took the laundry to Kelly's house and spent the day with them. It was dark when we started home and we were delighted to find lit up houses all along the way through the town of Watts and Westville, but when we pulled into our drive our house was dark. They had restored electricity to the main line but had not restored it to ten houses in our neighborhood. They simply packed up their tools and drove away. And never came back.

It is now day ten. We get updates every morning on the radio. Out of 47,000 customers who lost service there are now only about 5,000 without power. As the number of people still in the dark and cold shrinks we seem to remain in that group. I'm getting impatient.

In the beginning I wondered how people survived before modern technology. The plains Indians lived in tepees whose animal skin walls had an R-value of about one. They still had to go out into the cold and hunt for food. How did they do it? And whatever motivated people to move to Canada? It's colder than this up there. Maybe my fellow blogger Lorna can answer that question. But as the days go by and I'm having to be out in the frigid air to clean the place up and do all the things we have to do to survive, I'm reminded what remarkably adaptive animals we humans are. After ten days I'd still rather my house be warm and cozy but I'm getting by.

I think it's the loss of my daily routine that has had the greatest effect on me. It makes me wonder where we find real life. Is it in living a basic existence, close to the bone, being careful to make few mistakes that would jeopardize well being and safety? Or has the artificiality of modern homes that insulate you from the climate become reality for us? What about cars, cell phones, computers and all the other gadgets that separate us from the physical world? If all those things suddenly disappeared would we be able to carry on? With the current world wide economic situation we may soon find out. Someone should do a psychological study on the effects of the sudden loss of the anchors we depend on to keep ourselves stable.

Today I spent some time on the roof throwing limbs to the ground. Tomorrow I'll fire up the chain saw and continue the clean up. Who knows? We may get electricity tomorrow.


dawn said...

Be sure to contact the electric company again to let them know you are still out of power; they may think that your area has power. That happened here when Ike hit.

Lorna said...

I wasn't motivated to move to Canada, I was just here with my family and thought this was "the" way of life. Our summers are lovely, spring is gentle and beautiful, autumn is amazingly brisk and camera-worthy. Even so, I often marvel that I haven't just caved and moved to Tennessee like a lot of my relatives.

I posted a photo of my neighbourhood the other day---it's been like that since early November and will stay that way till March. You get used to it, and after a while, you've invested so much in winter gear that you can convince yourself it's worthwhile.

wally said...

I saw that photo. That seems like a great place to live in spite of the winters.

wally said...
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