A few days ago, we lost the power for about five hours.
It wasn’t a big surprise or anything. We were warned well in advance. I even got a courtesy call from the power company making sure we knew. That’s because I have a dependency on various electrical appliances to remain relatively healthy.
I have to be turned over every two or three hours to avoid putting stress on one specific area of my body. Which area is not really any of your business. I suppose I could make it your business, but I don’t want to. Perhaps later.
The point is that OH may have some objection to being roused from a long winter’s nap several times during that nap just to turn me over.
Much like the woman on one of the isolated islands off the East Coast about 70 years ago who was listening to a lecture in the Orange Lodge Hall from a visiting nurse on sexual hygiene.
After some introductory comments on the need for such practices, she recommended that women should wash themselves with hot water and soap after having intercourse. This was met with incredulous looks from the ladies in the hall. Finally one older lady got to her feet.
“’Tis all right for you crowd in St. John’s,” she said, “with your hot and cold running water and your indoor toilets to tell us what we got to do to keep clean, but let me tell you this, me maid: if you thinks we crowd out around here is gettin’ out of bed four or five times a night to boil the kettle you got another think comin’!”
Anyway we have a computerized bed that turns me gently from one side to the other several times a night. I don’t know if it’s good for anything else, Ma’am. Haven’t tried it. Haven’t even looked in the manual. OH wanted to but I said “Nah.” I was rather tired that night.
The point is, that it runs on electricity. When the power goes, it dies. Likewise my bi-pap machine that’s made to protect me from excessive sleep apnea, which can kill you.
The room heaters, which could save me from freezing, are also electric. My circulation system runs at about the same speed as the Labrador Current — frozen.
Actually, it wasn’t all that bad. We put a fire in the fireplace which kept that whole area cozy. Chunks of bologna roasted on the end of a stick are marvelous that way, and not nearly as messy as marshmallows which tend to stick to your woolen sweater when the burnt part is rubbed off.
Partway through the afternoon, just before it got really dark, I noticed something.
“Listen to that,” I said. We listened. Nothing. I know you hear that sort of thing in the movies all the time when the Indians are creeping up on the cowboys, or the Special Ops Unit is crawling on their bellies towards the unsuspecting terrorists.
“Listen,” someone will whisper.
“I can’t hear anything,” someone else will whisper back.
“Exactly, it’s too quiet,” the first fellow whispers back and that’s when all hell breaks loose.
But this was not the movies. It was deathly quiet, and it was deathly scary. Not a streetlight to be seen anywhere. Here and there through the tree branches could be seen the indistinct yellow glow of a kerosene lamp in someone’s window.
I took a cautious step out on the deck. It was dark by then and cold. But the stars! I had never seen them so bright. The moon had crept into the sky when I wasn’t looking and gradually made her appearance like a shy, but lovely maiden. When I was an adolescent filled with awe and wonder with these things, I used to sit on the rocks on the point behind our house and gaze mesmerized at the silver path the moon drew across the face of the water.
In one of my earlier books entitled “Some Fine Times” I described my feelings this way:
“I would sit on the bottom of an overturned boat and wish that I could walk that path also.”
It was all so ethereal and other-worldly, as though it were trying to draw me into it. I had this really strong sense of déjà vu. I had been there before, I had seen it all before. And indeed I had. Many times. I had grown up with it, in little communities with no electricity. Just stars and moons and window lamps.
Oh yes, and young people full of hormones and vivid imaginations.
(“Interestingly — and this is the Lord’s own truth — when my voice said “vivid” in the last sentence, my voice-activated program printed “Newfoundland.” And they say computers can’t think!)
We often lament the fact that young people, including teenagers and young adults, seem unable to see the beauty that lies all around them.
I know it’s true, at least in part, because I see it, at least in part. And I like to think I know the reason for some of it — at least in part. Kids’ imaginations are tuned in to the fantastical more than to the intrinsically and naturally beautiful.
Those of you more into the visual arts may have all kinds of problems with that perception and, if so, I bow to your superior insights. But that comment also includes those who are challenged by the beautiful word imagery used by many poets and writers.
Whether or not you have any time or respect for the Judeo Christian Bible, you cannot fail to see the incredible beauty in such books as “Song of Solomon”:
“Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away,
for lo who winter is past and over,
the flowers appear on the earth
and the time of the singing of the birds is come.”
Beauty of the highest order.
Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.