The kids awoke excited to see a scene from Narnia right outside their windows. Overnight, a fierce winter storm blanketed the farm in an iridescent layer of ice.
I had been awake for a few hours already, after a long night of listening to the ricochet of falling branches, breaking under the weight of the beautiful frozen sky fall.
In preparation for a certain power outage, I filled a bathtub with water as well as pitchers for drinking, gathered wood, and started a fire in the kitchen fireplace. Just as the belly of the black iron wood stove turned red, the lights flickered out and the hum of the house fell silent. We threw a tea kettle over the fire and hunkered down with some board games, hopeful that the outage would not last long.
As the morning crept on into day, we painted our fingernails, ate heaping bowls of Cream of Wheat and maple syrup (cooked over the fire) and played countless games. It was getting too cold to spend much time out of the kitchen so we gathered around the island together. Lorelei exclaimed, “I love that we don’t have any power right now… we all can spend so much more time together.”
I felt a little sad by her revelation. I thought we spend a lot of time together regularly, but when she added, “This is the most-funnest day ever!” I felt especially ashamed for missing the music streaming through the wireless speakers and worrying about missing a performance at the local Irish Pub.
By the grace of nature’s fury… we didn’t have anywhere to go. We didn’t have anything to do, except embrace this uninterrupted time together. An unintended day off the grid was just what we needed to gain a little perspective.
After dark, we lit candles and the kids performed a shadowy dinner show, then we layered comforters across the kitchen floor, in front of the fire, and sang songs until everyone drifted off to sleep.
Waking the second day to no electricity or running water was surprisingly easier. With the fire roaring and bacon sizzling over the open flames, the kids colored together on the heap of blankets, while the dogs curled up nearby. We spent most of the day near the fire reading books, giggling, and napping off and on.
Suddenly the house came alive.
Just as we grew used to functioning without electricity and all of the modern conveniences that distract us daily from the precious moments we could spend, consumed in each other’s company… the power returned.
Relieved to have running water, I rushed to wash the dishes and restore some ‘normalcy’ to our life. As I stood elbow deep in sudsy water contemplating the significance of the time we had just spent isolated from the world… with everything we could ever need, sweet little Davionn woke up from a nap, where he had been nestled in a cocoon of blankets in front of the fireplace.
He rushed up behind me at the sink and said “Mama, I dreamed I was prince and you came and kissed me awake. Then I heard the water running and knew the trees were gone.” I expected him to turn and run for his favorite Wii game or the computer… instead, he was standing there with an entire stack of Disney Princess books. He asked, “Will you read these to me, now?”
Twenty four hours before, he was begging me to make the electricity come on so he could play a game on the computer. Typically, I would have pleaded for just a few moments to finish my task, but instead, I stopped washing the three-day-old, pasta encrusted pot, left it just as it was, and we curled up in the blanket pile to read together.
He started us off… “Once upon a time.” I didn’t bother to tell him, I really had kissed his cheek while he slept. And somehow in the midst of winter bliss, we both woke up.