Winter-snowy trees

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We had a roughly 6-hour power outage last night, always slightly nervewracking in below-zero weather. It's fascinating how much more appealing going to bed suddenly becomes when it's pitch dark, there's no Internet, and the only heat is the residual heat remaining in the hot-water radiators. At least it was closer to midnight than to, say, 5 p.m. (It gets dark about 4 in the afternoon, these days.) I tried doing some art by the light of a small LED lantern, but it was too dim to be fun, so I read a little and went to bed. Power came back around 5:30 a.m.

I grew up without electricity -- we didn't get it until I was around 13 or 14 -- so all my winters were like that once upon a time, long and dark and lit only by kerosene lamps and the flickering of the fire. Now? Now I complain if I have to go for half an hour in the darkest heart of winter without my bright overhead fluorescent lights and my Internet.

There was something strikingly peaceful about it, though .... reminiscent of my cabin childhood. The house gets so shockingly quiet without the background hum of electronics and the refrigerator. We're far enough out in the country that there's little traffic, and the handful of neighbor lights normally visible from the windows were out as well. The moon was very bright, the night very clear. No distractions, no Internet, no temptation to turn on some device. Orion went to bed immediately, like a sensible person, so it was just me and the moon (and a rather anxious dog) until I got tired of straining my eyes trying to read, and went to bed myself.

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I'm always amazed how quiet the world gets when the power is out. There's a constant background hum that you never notice until it's gone.

Speaking of electricity and Alaska... my dad was an electrician for the Army based in Alaska in the 1950s, helping to bring electricity to rural areas in Alaska. For all I know, he might have had a hand in putting up your power poles. :)
Yes, that omnipresent electrical hum -- it's such a part of modern life that we just tune it out, and then it's like a muffling layer of cotton on the ears when it goes away!

That's really interesting about your dad! He must have had some fascinating stories to tell about that. (I didn't quite tell the whole story above -- we were still too rural to be on the power grid; we just had an electrical generator. So not quite that much of a personal connection! But that must have been quite the job to have had.)
Glad it was only 6 hours. Ha, and around here power outages are loud as everyone fires up their generators.
We have talked about getting a generator! Or a backup heat source (we have the chimney hookup for a wood stove, but it would have to go where the living room table is, and then rearrange all the furniture ...). It would probably be wise, as rural as we are.
When we lost power for a few days during the ice storm a couple of years ago the lack of power was frustrating. I think if it had just been the two of us it would've been okay but wow, houseful of bored teens...ugh. That and the lack of coffee made me want to kill people. Which reminds me I need to buy a french press before long because I swore I wouldn't be stuck without at least coffee. Dan saved my sanity though. He rigged up a converter to our car battery and we could power a small TV to catch up on news.

Growing up in Healy we had electricity. Not much else but that we did have!

Glad you weren't without for too long. :)
Ha, yeah ... bored teens would definitely make it a LOT more trying! And although I was making plans for the next day or two, just in case it was necessary, I really didn't want to have to. At least our stove is propane, so I would still be able to have tea, and cook and everything. I think it's the lack of light that would get to me more than anything else ... well, that and no computer ...
I used to enjoy the no power aspect of summer camp. But that must have been interesting, growing up with no power.
I keep thinking about making posts about my childhood on LJ, and then backing off, because it was such a weird and alien experience; every time I think about writing about it, I realize how much it sounds like fiction. We homesteaded in rural Alaska, and there were times when I remember going for months without seeing anyone except my immediate family. The cabin I grew up in was 20'x20'. No electricity, phones, or running water; no connection to the outside world at all except a walk of several miles via hiking trail to the nearest place you could land a small plane, which was also where we got our mail once a week. And then add the extra weirdness that I have a physical disability and spent a portion of my teen years unable to walk ... I honestly can't imagine doing it now, and sometimes wonder how on earth we did it then.

In the modern world, though, there's something almost transcendental about having no power. It makes you rethink everything.
Just popping in to say I would love to ear more about your childhood!

I honestly can't imagine doing it now, and sometimes wonder how on earth we did it then.

That's one of the things that fascinate me endlessly - both how adaptable people are, and how very easily the strangest things can become normalised. (It's something fiction tends to get wrong more often than not, I think - or perhaps I haven't found the right books; I don't know.)
I agree -- I think you could write something fascinating about that time in your childhood/teenage years. And I think it would be something a lot of other people would be interested in, too :-)
I dread losing power when it's cold out--I don't run my heat in the winter because it is cost-prohibitive, so I only keep it on enough to prevent pipes from freezing. It gets cold pretty darn fast when the power goes out!

We had a major ice storm a few years back and I was without power for about a week--I ended up staying one night in a hotel because it was so bad.

But I know what you mean about the peacefulness of it. I used battery-operated lanterns to read a historical novel and it just felt so right, so *magical* to read that story then. However I was glad when the power was restored! I definitely know the meaning of a Three Dog Night. :-)
Pipes freezing was what I was most worried about; it was about -5 last night, and supposed to get colder. 6 hours wouldn't do it, but I was thinking a lot of nervous thoughts about having to make it 2 or 3 days without power, just in case!

.... Which fortunately didn't happen. A week, though ... that would have been HARD, no matter the climate.

But, yeah. I think there is something almost transcendental, in the modern world, about being without power for a little while. It's such an omnipresent part of our lives now that it's hard to believe we existed for so many years without it, and people still do, in parts of the world. I appreciated having the reminder, last night. (And then I appreciated having the power back!)
Yes, the reminder is nice. The break from the perpetual *connection* to anyone and everyone who wants to contact you is nice. But then I remember how nice it is to turn the faucet and have running water come out without having to pump it from a well. :-)
Can't imagine Alaska without electricity. I used to not mind that even in the winter until 2009 when I nearly died in the ice storm that took out the power for a week (also now the diabetes makes being that cold for too long dangerous)
That does sound really awful. :( And yeah, health issues make it dangerous.
I'm glad the power outtage wasn't too awful for y'all. We lost power for about 8-10 hours a few years ago when Texas was hit with an awful ice storm (the one that made it questionable about things with the Super Bowl in Dallas, b/c the Dallas area was hit hard by that mess), and we were without it for several hours one evening at the beach house this summer while a transformer was repaired. It was much nicer to be without it this summer than in the cold! ;-)
Heh, yeah, power outages in the summer are still inconvenient, but not quite so awful as the winter ones can be!

I enjoyed the temporary peace, but was VERY glad to have the power back by morning.
Your right the silence gets very pronounced in the dark, the hum of the generator sounds very load. I feel very lost nowadays if I have to spend an evening sans TV or the internet.
Power cuts were very common when I was younger, it was very unpleasant in the summer(temp in the late 30's or early 40 C). We took to sleeping on our terrace one summer dragging our mattress outside, sleeping out under stars was a surreal experience, the only down side is that we had to get up at the crack of dawn. We continued the tradition for as long as we stayed there.
Yes, the silence is the thing I notice the most about it. (Well, heh, and at this time of year, the darkness I suppose.)

It must have been interesting, sleeping under the stars -- but I would not have wanted to deal with such heat!
No power? For SIX hours?!! Thank goodness most of those hours were at night! I mean, no internet!!! No INTERNET!!! *runs screaming at the very thought*

Okay, maybe that's a little OTT - but only a little, lol!! Glad the power came back on!
for once in a while it sounds wonderfully peaceful. As long as there's enough firewood, the water tank is full, the kerosene lamps have cannisters and there's non-perishable food in stock (I'm sure you have plenty of all those things!) otherwise it sounds very nerve-wracking out in the wilderness (or what I perceive as wilderness ;-))
I've gone without electricity for a few weeks or even months at a time (I've worked on a lot of archaeological digs, and accommodations aren't always full of modern conveniences), but wow, I can't even imagine going without it for my whole childhood. Though, as you say, it does certainly make it much easier to go to bed promptly!