Nov 1st, 2005

It’s Full of Stars

I've spent the last week powerless. Hurricane Wilma (who thinks up these names, anyway?) took out the power for most of Florida, topped my favorite mango tree, decapitated the grafted side of the avocado tree, and almost killed my koi.
The RLA and I were out there with bicycle pumps, trying to keep the koi aereated while our generator was being repaired. The koi are troopers, though, and came through just fine, unlike the awning over them.

For almost a week, I could go out at night and see the Milky Way, even though I live in an urban wasteland. The nights were cool and, except for the rattle and gasp of the generators, quiet. You could, if you were listening, hear the owl in the old tree next door, or the peeping of the tree frogs.

We need to rethink our cities, the way we live, so that you can always see the stars.

I rose with the sun, and went to bed with the sun. I knitted and read by candlelight. I took sponge baths with water that had been heated on the gas stove. The RLA and I were out in the yard all day, sawing up the downed trees with hand tools, because we don't own a chain saw.

I made coffee in a French press, and we kept our milk cool with a block of ice.

Everyone I know has been complaining of the horrors of being without electricity, but you know? I loved it. I loved being aware of the hours of the day by the location of the sun or the moon. I loved being able to walk in the street and talk to my neighbors who are usually in their own hermetically sealed cocoons. We shared ice, water, flashlights, stories, alcohol and the experience.

I thought it was wonderful.

Frankly, the biggest hardship for me was having to watch America's Next Top Model on a hand-held, battery-operated tv with a screen the size of a matchbox.

Oh, there's more, of course. This was the first hurricane of my life where I actually felt fear. Well, what I felt was the roof lift. It is an indescribable sensation, but there was no doubt as to what the change in pressure was. The roof held. There are no leaks. The power is back on. People are started to be assholes to each other again.

Life as we know it, is back to normal.