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Lights out

There are many modern, or semi-modern, conveniences that we rely on every day to make our lives easier, safer, and even more full; electricity, for instance, gives us the lights by which we can see what we are doing, run our sump pump and general appliances, and read books together, without the dangers of an open candle flame.  For these advantages we have to thank the many inventors and brilliant minds who have come before, and for their loss we have to thank the violent hour long storm that graced our area late in the afternoon on Thursday, knocking out the power for 12 plus hours and giving us the chance to more fully recognize their value.  We were very fortunate ourselves;  the high winds that blew siding off one house and our neighbor's metal patio furniture into the vacant lot next door left our home virtually untouched, and the hail that damaged cars throughout the area obviously did not hurt our car, which was in the garage.  And while, as a runner, I have often bemoaned the fact that we live at the top of the hill in the village, as is evidenced by our proximity to the water tower, as I watched the water gathering in our backyard, reaching ever closer to our backyard neighbor's house, which is notably lower than ours on the hill, I told myself that the tiring uphill climb at the end of every run is worth the comfort of a dry basement.  This, of course, was driven home to me when, 12 hours after the storm, the water still ankle deep in the back yard and our sump pump still impotent without its power source, our basement remained dry thanks to that hill and our location upon it.

And while I will remain always thankful for the refrigerator and freezer that allow me to shop only once a week, instead of once a day, and for the washing machine that allows me to spend five minutes washing clothes instead of five hours, and for all the many conveniences which add time back into my day, time that I can then spend enjoying, nurturing, and guiding my growing son, spending some time without the electricity also reminded us of some of the things those conveniences have taken away.  As soon as the storm cleared Calvin and I ventured into the garage to disconnect the door and open manually for Jon, who was undertaking a harrowing drive home through down trees, power lines, and impromptu lakes, and when we opened that door we were greeted with a wonderful sight - our neighborhood was crawling with people who would normally have been shut up tightly in their air conditioned homes, oblivious to the presence of other human existence on their block.  We have friendly relationships with several of our neighbors, more so than ever we enjoyed in our old neighborhood, and when we walked down to the home that we consider to be the social hub of our neighhood we found them taking advantage of their new waterfront property status - the high school aged boys were surfing on the new lake in their backyard, and the parents were gathering to enjoy the antics and each other's company in lieu of regularly scheduled TV programs.  And while Calvin joined in the water play in the yard and we joined in the beer drinking on the patio I thought, momentarily, how nice it would be if we could have a scheduled power outage every once in a while, just to bring back some of what we have lost

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