Light and Dark
I’ve always been rather nervous about the very large, nearly branch-less, almost dead tree directly outside our living room window. I always imagine the worst, and being awoken in bed to a shower of bricks from the wall was the least of my nightmares on the subject. Days like Saturday are what keep such nightmares alive and kicking in the deep recesses of my imagination.
I was rudely awakened to what sounded like an explosion and a shower of sparks flying past my bedroom window and leapt up to find Andy already on the phone with the fire department. Thankfully, the tree fell the opposite direction, across the road, narrowly missing the parallel parked cars by about a foot. The electrical and telephone wires caught it from actually smashing into anything but, in the process, sacrificed their own lives.
What followed was 3.5 days of no power. It was rather rustic living, but we dealt with it with good attitudes. Our heat was out, but we did have hot water; our fridge was out, but we have a gas stove to cook.
But I’m not going to tell you some tale of how I became aware of how superfluous electricity is and how much more satisfying and rich life was without it. I missed it, awfully. Last night when I crawled into my ice cold bed and slept with my hood drawn over my face for warmth, I could have used some heat. When twilight rolled around and there was not enough daylight to light the room but still enough daylight to prevent the candles from shedding any light around them, I was kind of annoyed. When I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and had to light a candle to find the way, I did feel like Laura Ingalls and not in a good way.
But I will say that I learned to appreciate the darkness, and subsequently the light. I found myself stretched out on the couch more than once in the evenings, tucked under a thick blanket, merely watching the candlelight flicker on the coffeetable top. Each night, Andy and I unintentionally drifted off to sleep on the couch just because the dim lighting left us so relaxed. And the mornings were never so pleasant to wake up to as when it meant the return of light to our home.
I’m thankful the power is back, but I find myself forgetting to turn lights on. I think Andy and I will be lighting candles late in the evening for the rest of our lives now not just for scent or decor but for light, enjoying the way our natural melatonin floods our systems and carries us to sleep. The nighttime is good, and I no longer feel the need to shut it out. And the mornings? I now understand their joy.