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.
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.
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.