Let there be light

What it looks like off the deck in the light

What it looks like off the deck in the light

Snow sleets sideways this early December morn.  Wind howls and shakes the dickens out of the tree branches.  Occasionally it topples an entire poplar or maple, severing its tree-life and sending it crashing to the snowy earth.  Twice since 5:15 a.m. falling trees have opted to take out electrical lines as they plummeted.  When that happens–it’s a very dark and morning in our Little House in the Big Woods.

First one’s husband rolls over in bed pondering the time.

“No power,” he grunts.

Because of the magic of a lighted iPad (no internet, kids) we can ascertain the time.  5:30 a.m.  I set the alarm for 6:30 so he can trek to work on time.  It wakes us an hour later with a little rumba tune, ta-boom, ta-boom, ta-boom.

Years ago we installed two gas lights to see us through the darkness.  First we find flashlights to light our path in the dark house.  I patter down the basement to start the wood stove, aiming the neon-bright illumination toward the wood pile, the matches, the newspaper, the kindling.  We can’t build a roaring fire on power-less days because the wood stove blower won’t fire.  Instead, we keep the old girl modulated, burning lightly but steadily.

Gas light over stove

Gas light over stove; pressure cooker ready

Barry, in the meantime, hath discovered alternative kitchen matches and sparks the gas lights.  Ahhh, good morning, light world!

Outside the wind continues to howl.  I make coffee on the kitchen gas stove, igniting the burner with a match.  We filter the dark liquid into our mugs and then sip slowly, oh-so-slowly, listening to the hiss of the gas lights and the crackle of burning kindling.

Then I place soaked brown rice in the pressure cooker (whilst the flame still shimmers) and set the iPad timer for ten minutes.  The pressure cooker babbles so loudly as it rocks back and forth like a rocketship preparing to blast to outerspace.

Eventually Mr. Husband departs for his work, praying that the electricity works in town.  It would be challenging to put out a local newspaper without power.  (Yes, astute reader, the power was on in L’Anse.)

I sit in the silent house.  Alone.  On the couch.  The mechanical clock ticks.  The gas lights hiss; the wood stove crackles.  No refrigerator hums.  No furnace sings.  No hot water heater creaks.  No sump pump roars.  No computers bzzzzz.  No Internet entertains.

The sound of silence slowly seeps into one’s being.



The sound of quiet eases around the nooks and crannies of a mind that often wants to be busy with checking email, reading news, playing computer jigsaw puzzles, listening to the bells and whistles of the surface world.

A deep and profound silence percolates through the space of the cozy room.

The thoughts slowly wane.

Sink deeper, dear one, sink deeper.

Beneath the thoughts that are so often thinking, the beliefs that are so often believing, and the opinions that are so often opining lies this amazing field of peace.

A peace that passeth all understanding.

A peace that sings as our birthright.

It’s our inner electricity, our inner power, our inner light so bright it can only be dimmed by the surface noise of a yakking mind.

No sense of separation exists here.  Just the peace.  Just the power.  Just the love.

Only this.

Only this.

And then…a motor hums, lights blink on, the world reappears complete with usual sights and sounds!

Thoughts begin to form sentences, paragraphs, novellas.  The monkey mind arises with its incessant commentary. Little desires like “more coffee” appear.  The computer beckons, come hither, come hither…

Thank goodness for the light. And thank goodness when we connect, however briefly, with the light that never ceases shining deep within. May the outer power go out, if need be, so that we can all reconnect with that peace and joy.


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in December 2017 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Let there be light

  1. Carol says:

    Thank goodness for gas! My house is all electric, so I would have to either stay in bed or flee to a neighbor’s house. Maybe I should buy a small Coleman stove.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, that stove might be a good idea–depending on how often you lose power. Or how well you and the neighbors get along! 🙂 We learned a long time ago we would have to have some backup gas in order to survive.

  2. lisaspiral says:

    I love those quiet spaces, but I do miss central heat when it happens.

  3. I love this! Not only have you perfectly captured the whole gamut of actions and feelings surrounding a power outage – from pioneer spirit, to making-do, to “what am I missing,” to resolve, release, and appreciation of the stillness – you told it all with language that sings! “Snow sleets sideways” indeed! Lovely!

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Cindy, you know that sleety sound that snow makes when it’s hitting metal or wood at a sideways angle. Thank you so much for enjoying this post. I keep wondering if it’s possible to blog in a way that encompasses the deep monastic feeling that has blossomed over the past few years. Not sure how to word everything, but really wanted to try this morning. What crazy winds, huh?

  4. dawnkinster says:

    Sometimes, as you know, it’s good to take a pause without the outside world buzzing in your head. That’s one good thing about power outages. Maybe the only good thing. And only good when those outages are short. Glad you enjoyed yours, and glad the power is back!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, I used to get so darn restless and bored and impatient during power outages at times. (And still might depending on the duration.) Thank goodness for meditation. And short outages!

  5. debyemm says:

    A very common experience in our lives here in Missouri as well – the power going out for some length of time. There is a void that occurs when that happens, caused by modern conditions that the people who once pioneered this place never knew. Which is better ? I only know this life now and I’m always okay with however it is being. Yes, once acquainted with the peace that passeth all understanding, it never really leaves though it may be muffled by the external buzzing zinging world out there. We might get a bit of snow on Friday they say but it is certain not to make all things white quite yet.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, that void used to totally drive me crazy and restlessness often ruled an electricity-less day. Not so much these days, but it can still happen. So glad that you’ve discovered that deep-inside peace. I was thinking earlier that so many folks don’t even know that it’s there, available, right beneath the zinging world of thoughts and beliefs and emotions. It’s the greatest discovery that we can make (I think, lol). I also find it harder to connect with friends or family around. Then attention goes to the loved ones. But, as you say, the peace is always there if we notice. Have fun with your snow if you get it!

  6. Sybil Nunn says:

    You iz a very mellow thoughtful person. You iz so chill you hear voices of Turtle Island.

    I want to be like you when I grow up.

    P.S. Have you got a flashlight app on your phone ? Very handy. I even put a compass on mine …

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, before you decide I iz a mellow thoughtful person you should consult with the people who have seen me mad! As for the voices of Turtle Island they are available to all of us who sit still and listen and sink below all those stories in our head. As for a flashlight app, oh dear, this is challenging. We don’t HAVE cell phone service (except random texting) here in the woods so we only have a prepaid Tracfone and you can hardly download any apps because it’s not-the-greatest. So the short answer is no. I only carry the phone on trips. Although it’s something to ponder!

  7. Barb says:

    With a power outage, we rediscover how dependent we are on everyday conveniences like light and heat and a means to cook food. I always feel like it’s an adventure at first – then I start to worry about pipes freezing and how I’m going to prepare meals. However, a respite from restless mind us always welcome. I loved your description. I could hear the trees falling!

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks, dear Barb! Yes, we can perhaps write a different kind of post when it’s three days later and we’re still without power. Then we could cheerfully bitch away! Ha ha. the trees are still swaying like crazy and there’s rumors they’ve closed the Mackinac Bridge. May the rest of the trees stay upright.

  8. john K says:

    I feel like a GI overseas getting a letter from home. Hopefully, I will be there next week. On the marine traffic site, I see Bete Grise Bay is a temporary home to two freighters taking refuge and it looks like Whitefish Bay is a parking lot. I don’t know how much more timber and such is left in the Keweenaw to get thrown up on the shore from this blast. I admire your ability to accept and work through inconveniences the conditions outside throw at you. I need to find a way to achieve the inner peace you find. Thank you again to the bard of the bay for your elegant letters to us.

    • Kathy says:

      John, I haven’t looked at boatnerd today. It is CRAZY! Well, it was crazy this morning and is getting crazy now mid-afternoon. John, I truly 100% recommend a meditation or silence practice. The only thing you can’t do is try to meditate and say it doesn’t work because you have too many thoughts. It’s like training a muscle. Every time a thought appears, go back to the in-between silence. In six months or 15 years you’ll be Peace Itself. lol! Thanks for your kind words and enjoy your trip back “home”.

  9. dorannrule says:

    Beautifully written of the peace that comes from quiet. We too are woodstovers living on the edge of a wild kingdom.

  10. This post made me feel like I was there with the sleet and the wind outside but warm, cozy and peaceful inside. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Loved this!

  11. jeffstroud says:

    Let there be light!
    Those quiet times are very rare yet we can create them on our own at times when needed.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Jeff, don’t you think the Advent time of year is a perfect time for moving deeper inward toward the quiet? I love that we can create (or open to) these gems of consciousness if we but take the time. Or if the power goes out!

  12. Stacy says:

    Sounds (no pun intended) sooooo peaceful. I’ve been on cyber hiatus for the want of hush. This was just the right post to welcome me back. ❤

  13. monologhujan says:

    hi Kathy, i’m from Indonesia and i really love your post. i can feel the peaceful from the way you describe it. all i can say is…you write it perfectly. keep it up!

    • Kathy says:

      Monologhujan, thank you! I’ve just taken a ten month break from blogging and came back, so glad to hear your words of encouragement. Let there be light in your life, as well…

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