A Candle in the Storm

Last night I learned the hard way that one should not try and write a blog post while under the influence of fatigue and preoccupation.  I wanted to write about my experience during Sandy, but I was so busy wondering whether or not we’d be affected by Athena that I hit “publish” way before the post was done.

The dilemma – trash it or try and fix it?  It didn’t seem like deleting it was the thing to do, so I tried my best to fix it by keeping it short and sweet and changing the title.  All in all, a confusing experience and I don’t plan on repeating it any time soon.  About three seconds after I published the post and before I “fixed” it, Katie’s email arrived.

“I think this one got published a little too soon or something went wrong.”

I burst out laughing and called to tell her my tale of blogging woe.  We had a good chuckle about it and in the end concluded that it was OK because it was truly a “musing and random thought.”

The good news is that Athena didn’t hit my area as hard as they were predicting and although I’m not thrilled about the snow on the ground, I couldn’t be happier that I have power and there is sunshine in the forecast.

a little snow after Athena - Trees still have leaves

This morning I pulled up the pictures I took the night Sandy hit and thought about that day and the days that followed.

I realize now that I was completely unprepared mentally for the storm.  I stocked up on water non- perishable food items because my mom and dad told me I should.  Although there were plenty of warnings that hundreds of thousands of people would lose power for up to a week, it didn’t occur to me that we’d be among them.  My point of reference was Irene, during which we lost power for a grand total of three hours.

I can’t decide if eerie or surreal is the better word to describe the hours leading up to the actual storm. On Sunday Christian helped me batten down the hatches and secure everything we thought might turn into a missile or be damaged.

On Monday we rolled up the rug in the basement and put all of the electronic gadgets as high as we could without disconnecting the network of cables and cords.  I tried my best to concentrate on my projects and research but every time the porch door banged and bumped against the house my mind wandered.

I finally gave up and Christian and I decided to take advantage of our power and cable access.  We took a risk and made microwave popcorn that had expired in May (we threw out the package that had an expiration date of 2010) and watched Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter followed by The Incredibles.

The  first movie was surprisingly entertaining and we made it through the entire show without interruption.  Lights flickered and teased us during The Incredibles, but we made it to the very end before the house went black.

I’d forgotten how dark it is when there is no power.  The tiny beams of color from televisions, laptops, modems, and whatnot keep rooms from turning pitch black even if the lights are turned out.  Fortunately I knew exactly where the lighter was and could quickly light some candles.

fireplace by candlelight during Hurricane Sandy

We played cribbage by candlelight, not an easy thing to do.  The most challenging part was trying to figure out whether or not I was moving the right peg.

cribbage by candlelight

“It’s weird to think that people lived like this before electricity and batteries,” I said.

Christian responded, “It explains why they went to bed at 7 o’clock.”

It wasn’t much past 7 when we decided to call it a night and get ready for bed. It was disconcerting and more than a little scary to watch the white curtains dance with the wind by candlelight. The flickering flames added a haunting quality to the night.

candles I knew that if the wind was strong enough to blow the curtains on the inside of my house there was no way we would wake up with power.

We were lucky.  There were quite a few branches down in our yard; but no live wires, no trees, and we got power back within less than three days.

I’m not sure why but I didn’t take any pictures of the aftermath.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want to remember it or maybe it’s because I’ll never forget it.  Instead of taking pictures of fallen trees and sparking live wires my album from that day contains the candles that provided light throughout the storm.

One of my friends challenged me to embrace the experience and find a way to let my artistic side express it.  In an “artistic moment,” I took this picture of one of the candles in my bedroom.  I liked the way the flame reflected against the copper color metal and cast a soft-star shaped shadow against the wall.

candle in the stormOver the next few days the image of this candle and the warmth of the flame and shadows inspired me to capture this Candle in a Storm in ink on a piece of my hand-made paper.candle in the storm - ink drawing on handmade paper

I’m extremely happy and thankful to be warm and safe.

7 thoughts on “A Candle in the Storm

  1. Thanks for passing this along to me Beth, I’m glad you’re alright and had no damage (its bad enough being without power) I had to cut back on blogging, I’m taking an advanced writing class – in Norwegian… And thats why I’m off the map these days!
    I’ve also hit publish (several times) when I met to hit preview… if there is a mistake to be made, I’ve made it 🙂

      1. Maybe you should… as for me, I haven’t written about what I’m doing because, I can’t take the pressure of everyone watching. What if I fail… I’ve only told a chosen few 🙂

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