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Peace and Quiet

Like many New Englanders, we lost power over the weekend. I’d heard we might be getting a storm, but hadn’t taken it seriously. After all, how much snow could we possibly get before Halloween? But I’d forgotten where I live. The weather in New England is nothing if not a continual surprise.

At 8 p.m., the movie we were watching flickered, then faded to black. The lights went out. And suddenly, it was quiet. (Aside from the shrieking of two small children, that is.) No rumble of the heat, no hissing from the hot water tank. We lit candles, handed out flashlights, and walked around the house, seeing it differently because of the shadows.

We’re fortunate to have a generator, a hold-over from when we lived in the country and lost power frequently. After an hour or so we started it up to keep the house warm, but we shut it off before bed, and once again were surrounded by silence. The phone lines were down, too, so it was as if we were marooned. The streetlights were off, and only a few houses on the street had their own generators running, so the road was swathed in darkness. It was lovely, at least for a little bit, and reminded me again of how connected we often are to the world outside, with the pinging of e-mail and the ringing of the phone, and how rare it is to be able to have full minutes of peace and quiet. We went to sleep hearing only the howl of the wind.

Of course, hot showers have their place too, and so in the morning we started up the generator again. : )

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