Friday, October 28, 2005

Lights out

A little over a year ago, I spent a couple of weeks without electricity, thanks to the Hurricane Twins, Frances and Jeanne. I put together a little slideshow with words (you could see it at, but the site is temporarily down), and the final slide talked about that subject:

When I left for my vacation, I'd been without electricity for a week. Thank you, Frances. When I returned, I was without electricity again. Thank you, Jeanne.

Understand, I took it pretty well. I accepted it. It was the ways things were. I adapted. No stress.

On the Thursday after Jeanne I went home at lunch to check on the dogs. As I was leaving the house I wondered if I should turn on the front door light so when I got home again I'd know if the power was back on. That's what "they" recommend you do. I'd had this thought many times before, but I always said to myself, "No, you'll know if the power is on because you won't hear that super-loud, obnoxious generator that the idiot across the street is running 24 hours a day 7 days a week. And besides, the power wouldn't be back anytime soon anyway." But then I flipped the switch -- I don't know why.

As far the the super-loud obnoxious generator goes, I guess you don't notice the absence of something as readily as you do its presence, because I drove home that evening feeling accepting and mellow and turned in my driveway and the first thing I saw was... front door light was on.

Instantly -- faster than I could formulate thought -- I was overcome by utter and absolute serenity. The world was a wonderful place, good and at peace. A second later my intellect caught up with my emotion and the thought entered my mind:

The electricity was back on.

I have left that front door light on ever since. I've never turned it off. It represents something to me -- I don't know exactly what. If I had to put a word to it without thinking, the word would be "peace." The light represents peace. Every time I come home, even during the day, I see that light on and I know peace. I guess it's all wrapped up in the hurricanes and everything we went through and the idea that it was over. And the idea that no matter what happens, we can get through it.

Why am I telling you this? Because that light has been on now without interruption for a little over a year, but tonight I will be turning it off. I'm going away for a little while, and Halloween is coming, and if I leave it on it will attract trick-or-treaters to a house that is empty and, alas, offers no treats. So the light has to be off.

It's a watershed of sorts. Even though it's only temporary, turning the light off has roiled my emotions. I'll be glad when it's on again.

Front Light On

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