Mack Williams: Lights out again
A recent tornado in Danville knocked out the electrical power of a large outlying section of town, but more importantly (human nature), mine.
The last time I experienced a power outage was due to a squirrel having gone where it shouldn’t have: into a transformer. This time a tornado went where it shouldn’t have (our viewpoint, also human nature); but there’s no reasoning with squirrel nor tornado (although you could spook a squirrel, but not a tornado). For the final word on a tornado: John 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it will…..”
At Walmart, I bought an automobile “work light,” but not a “snake light” (even in daylight, a little scary). Its being equipped with a handle, I hung it on the upper railing of my bed behind my head. Hands freed from flashlight, I could write down some of what you’re now reading (pen and ink, of course, not laptop). Although this light is a light best suited for automobile work, it aided my “engine of thought” in writing.
Readying for a cold night’s forecast freezing temps, I layered a couple pair of long pajamas which my kids and mother-in-law had bought me at Christmas for hospital and rehab center use from my left hip replacement back in January. I also had a fleece blanket given me by a fellow employee for hospital and rehab stay for my right hip replacement last July, (new bones from the “bone fairy”(Medicare-medigap), plus some goodies.
I knew it wouldn’t be as chilly as when I helped chaperone my son Jeremy’s high school biology class camp-out at Hanging Rock State Park. Then, I slept in my East German Army surplus topcoat (another “cold” war).
Some of my neighbors have pole lights or leave back- porch lights on for security (a feeling of it), or to see nighttime Winter snowfall. If this tornado’s aftermath had brought an out-of-season snowfall (doesn’t seem strange nowadays) they would have had to resort to hand-held light to see it.
To the casual passerby (“driverby”), it would have seemed no one in the whole area cared about a “window of light into the night,” and that no one there needed a glow by which to sleep; but I, as well as everyone else in the neighborhood would have known better.
During that night, the wind made sporadic, post tornadic gasps and howls; but in the unrelievable darkness, a scene of bending boughs and swaying trunks had to be imagined.
Remembering that an uncovered head looses heat (and my childhood admonition from Grandmother Hamlet about “naked head” in cold weather), I wore my retro WW I, 1915 British Gor Blimey trench cap. Sitting there, eating Beenie Weenies out of a can, I thought of life in the trenches; but thankfully, no shells, shrapnel, or flamethrowers (“Flammenwerfer” in German) enlivened my WW I reverie (and no gas, except that later on relative to Beenie Weenies).
I heard the distant, continual “whir” (onomatopoeia) of a home generator, and detected the subtle smell of wood smoke from someone’s “home heat” carried through my apartment’s walls as if by osmosis.
The stark, white rays of the work light made night table things stand out equally starkly against the room’s shadowy background, making me think of those NASA space walk photos. In those scenes, every space suit detail is brilliantly lit by the sun against the contrasting blackness of space (but unlike there, my room’s temperature only dropped to 50 degrees, not absolute zero of the interstellar void).
Overnight layering assisted my personal heater (heartbeat powered) in keeping me warm. Unlike the city’s transformer, it is impervious to random squirrel scurryings (but not tornado).
Graying night sky meant that despite City Utilities’ repair time, the “great-heater-and-light-bulb” at solar system’s center would soon be back in play, rolling up over the horizon to meet me.
Or more properly (ever since Copernicus), the horizon and I rolling down to meet it.