Two hours without power. Seems insignificant enough. Yet it threw a hitch in my morning routine. I was lucky enough to brew a couple inches of coffee in the pot before losing that lifeline, so poured some into an insulated “go cup” knowing I would not be able to warm it in the microwave, as was my usual routine. Sipping on my very strong coffee, I ate my cold cereal by early morning, cloudy sky light. Mike headed off to breakfast downtown with his buddies, something he does each Saturday, although before the rain, he had planned to ride his bicycle. He had decided to wait till the pavement dried a bit from the much needed rain we had received. I told him to call before he came home to see if I needed some hot coffee.
Using my tiny battery powered lantern, I washed my face in cold water and dressed for the day. I sat outside for a bit on the wet wicker loveseat and let Sid sniff around the awakened wet ground that was emitting all kinds of unfamiliar scents to intrigue her hound senses.
Mike returned shortly with a Styrofoam cup of hot coffee from the diner where he had eaten. Knowing my mother is as much addicted to her morning coffee as I am, I gave her a call to see if she wanted some. She laughed, and said, “Well, of course.” I gathered her coffee and mine and headed over, Sid running ahead of me.
Mom was sitting on her porch, and Sid greeted her excitedly, then ran off to sniff around Mom’s little woods and beside her deck where a little chipmunk has been spied.
As I approached, Mom stated that Dad was still asleep, so we sat on the porch. The cool air was a welcoming comfort and reprieve from the record high heat we had been experiencing previous to the storms. I sat down beside her in the porch chairs, and we chatted easily, while we enjoyed our coffee. We strolled around her property, and she showed me her flowers and her glorious tomato plants that promised to bless them with an abundant crop.
Our visit ended with her coming in to my house for a quick peek at the cushions I had made for my front porch chairs, and she hugged me excitedly about my creativity and industriousness. I told her I got it from her. We said good-bye and she headed home.
After she left, the quiet surrounded me. Alex was still sleeping, and Mike had headed off on his bike ride. I took a mirror from the bedroom wall and sat on the front porch with my make up bag and used the bright natural light to go through the ritual of enhancing and covering my face. As I did so, I thought how it was a lot like camping. Mike and I have been home from our camping trip for a week, and I have yet to stop wishing we were still away from it all, just the two of us, roughing it. Now here I was, pretty much roughing it again.
As I brushed on the finishing touches of mascara, the power came back on. I realized that without the electricity, I had been blessed by being forced to stop and step out of my routine. I had given in to a casual and unscheduled enjoyment of time. The laundry patiently awaited me. My email went unchecked, and time seemed to stand still for this person who is always checking her watch.
A power outage had been a blessing. Forcing me to get back to nature. I always think of getting back to nature as a walk in the woods, but this time, it meant getting back to letting go of time and embracing the time of life where things were just natural – no technology, an easier, slower pace.
I thought of how people like me get caught up in their schedules. We set alarms and rush here and there, deadlines and time clocks rule our lives. Then something happens. A freak accident – a man I know was hit in the eye by a bird as he rode his bicycle and faces losing that eye. A storm that blew down trees and buildings and took out electricity. The death of a pet – three people I know lost a loved pet this week! A post storm unexpected and unexplained early morning power outage. All things that make us stop and look and listen. Life is happening around us, and yet we become so removed from it. These things make us stop rushing around, and in that stillness, we are forced to notice our blessings, because the inconvenience of their absence, or the shock of their presence, slaps us in the face. And if we are still enough, we will feel the blessings and realize we need to slow down, “smell the roses,” and be in the moment.
Today when I walked down the sidewalk after the visit with my mom, I felt such joy and love that tears welled in my eyes. Sometimes I let life get too busy to let in the blessings and to feel the powerful love. I always love my parents, but sometimes I hold it at an arm’s length. A protection factor, I am sure. But the power outage gave me the opportunity to open to that love and let myself feel my blessings and enjoy them while they are here.