Light and Power

We just had a power outage where I live. It lasted fewer than two hours, but what a feeling of powerlessness! Even though we had emergency candles and working flashlights handy, they can’t replace real electric lights, never mind stuff like the furnace, stove and especially the computer! I couldn’t read blog posts! Or even make a cup of tea. Truly sad.

After washing the dishes by candlelight, I actually got bored, something that hardly ever happens. I went for a walk along our street, noticing the long black shadows cast by the rising just-past-full moon, and a weird white glow thrown by headlights of approaching cars on the main road nearby. Street lights drown out these subtleties.

It also occurred to me that most of the world’s classic literature was penned (literally) in poor light, unless writers then worked mainly in daylight. And those same works were often read by the dim glow of candles or the not much brighter one cast by oil lamps.

Oil Lamp

Oil Lamp


I couldn’t imagine writing or even reading under those conditions. For one thing, I’m paranoid about setting something on fire with a candle. Stuff was always burning down in pre-electric times, wasn’t it? So I decided to go to bed, but the power came back on before I got there, and here I am now, feeling thankful that I can write this.