The Night the Lights Went Out


We felt lucky not to lose our power on the first day of the Washington wind storm. However, on the second night of the wind event, our power flickered several times and then extinguished. My husband, two dogs and I sat on the couch in the kitchen and peered out at our neighborhood.

Our house sits on a hill so we have a view of several streets. Darkness enveloped the whole neighborhood. We watched as a few flashlights and lanterns went on in nearby houses. We, too, had brought lanterns into the kitchen when the lights started to flicker.

There is something so cozy about sitting in a darkened house with loved ones. The lanterns give off a soft glow as we shuffle around the kitchen working on peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. What’s more, power outages always make me feel we are somehow closer to our neighbors. We are all in it together.

Several years ago, I read a wonderful book by Barbara Brown Taylor entitled Learning to Walk in the Dark. The book explores our relationship with darkness. Taylor notes that the invention of artificial light changed us forever. We can alter night with a flood of light. Our sleep cycles have been disrupted by the glow of constant lights. The stars are no longer visible everywhere. But, one of the things that struck me most in the book was her talk about our association of darkness with danger and evil.

There are many beautiful things found in the dark. A late night walk in my neighborhood might flush out a fox or raccoon. As a child, I loved the sound of the crickets and spring peepers outside my grandparent’s back porch. Laying in the grass looking up at the stars on a summer night in Maine is breathtaking. And, don’t forget the glory of the first fireflies in summer.

On this night, I am thankful for the respite from manmade light. I love the glow of a candle and the quiet night sounds. I tuck my legs under me as I open a good book and settle in.

One thought on “The Night the Lights Went Out

  1. I liked how you included your learning from a book on darkness. As I read your post, I was reminded of the time years ago when we visited the colonial village in St. Mary’s County. It was approaching dusk and it hit me how soon it would be COMPLETELY dark, except for candlelight. Being in a colonial setting helped me to understand better a life that followed the rise and set of the sun. Glad your safe but also glad you got the chance this weekend to experience a life driven without electricity.

    Liked by 1 person

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