November 19, 2004

The long search for power


Last Friday I put new snow tires on my car. And of course Saturday afternoon it snowed. And not the light gentle snow turning to rain they predicted. It was fierce wet icy snow. Driving home that afternoon from Halifax was not fun. Cars skidding. A few accidents. Very scary.

After a few winters here and some bad skids I opted for 4-wheel drive and am very glad I did, living out from town and on back roads as I do. Once, driving home from the airport after ten days in Florida in February (enjoying swimming in the ocean and shorts and sleeveless tops), the roads around here were so bad, so icy I had to drive in first gear/four-wheel drive just to get home. Any time I put the car in second gear that night, I slid. Last Saturday was not quite that bad. But almost. The first snowstorm of the year always feels like a surprise. No one is ever prepared.

But the aftermath of this one was far worse. Around 6:30 pm the power went out. And it stayed away (for me) for five days. Fortunately my house is fairly new and is well insulated. But after a couple of days the damp cold began to wear away any patience I might have had with the situation. Sunday and Monday I sat on my living room couch and sorted photographs into archival sleeves, reorganizing my life in these albums. Something I wouldn't have done if my usual routines hadn't been put on hold.

At noon on Monday my friend Brian came by with a camp stove and warmed up some canned soup I had and made me some hot water. A meal in a fancy five star restaurant could not have tasted so good. The first hot meal in two days! I have a windup radio which was a blessing. I knew what was happening outside my little retreat. But camping out in my own home was exhausting and cold. Reading by candlelight hard. So I moved into my extremely generous friend Inge’s house in Halifax where I felt very warm and welcome. That was a precious gift.

After Hurricane Juan last October I was without power for six days. Even though I had to go down to the lake for water (and sadly pass by the beautiful old white pines that were felled), it was not as unsettling as this time when it was so cold and felt so disorienting and there was so much talk about the failure of the power company to maintain their equipment. I came back to my house on Wednesday to pick up a few things and lost it, just forgot most of what I came for and left. The house looked like an abandoned ship lost at sea. I found myself welling up with tears over the week and wondered often about people who are forced to leave their homes forever because of wars or natural disasters.

I came home last night and am busy cleaning up and living here again. Life in my home is no longer on hold. Obviously it is time to invest in a generator! Have my own source of power no matter what the winds of weather bring.

Posted by leya at November 19, 2004 10:49 AM

I am glad your power is back on and everything is fine. It is still like spring here in Southern Ontario........
Much love to you!

Posted by: Jeanne at November 19, 2004 04:48 PM

I'm relieved you're back and safe! And I know what you mean about needing the generator; we have to keep one especially during hurricane season, and we usually have a couple which are borrowed by family. Hope that first hard snow wasn't an omen of things to come. Keep warm and safe.

Posted by: toni at November 20, 2004 01:36 AM

Thanks, Jeanne and Toni. It is SO NICE to be home! We are all here hoping for a gap in bad weather, just some sun and warmth for a while, please!

Posted by: Leya at November 20, 2004 12:46 PM