People are always saying how they feel like the world is moving too fast. Technology has a hold on us now more than ever. EVERYONE in this country has a cell phone or even two, a laptop, mp-3 player if there’s not one already on the phone,chargers for the above, and now capability to sync everything to the car. Vanishing before our very eyes are the good old fashioned paper page-turners, replaced by digital books. There has to be a concerted effort and serious planning to be done if you want to get away from technology. Then people just think you are on some weird hippy phase. And if you are not up on the latest trend, good luck staying in business and even in tune with the world around you. Those of us like me who balk a bit at the constant, stressful forward motion draw the line at some point and say, “Enough!” I took a “no texting or talking while driving” oath not too long ago just to solidify my commitment to not getting sucked up by and thrown uncontrollably askew into the vortex of forward motion. And then, yesterday, as if to test me, the lights went out. Literally.
Cleburne was just one location in the path of puddle-jumping tornadoes that ripped through Texas to ring in spring with a vengeance. I slept through the entire episode of trees flying, furniture tossing, and roof ravaging only to wake up when the super-loud noise-blocking fan in my bedroom stopped working. That’s when I realized the power was out. The morning revealed just how seriously the storm had effected our area. And to add insult to injury, heaven forbid it…my teenage daughter was denied access to a hair dryer and straightening iron! Oh the Horror! The world was definitely coming to an end. To think, of all the things going devastatingly wrong around us, she would be forced to enter middle school with wet hair.
And thirty minutes after dropping her off, I got a text. In the car, so of course I pulled over and stopped to read, “Mom, we are all in the cafeteria. No electricity. People are getting picked up. Please come get me!” Then another one from the secretary at the elementary school, “No power…I am going crazy…please come help!” Funny the juxtaposition of technology and lack thereof.
After an exhausting day of running back and forth up and down hallways retrieving students and delivering messages to teachers(no radio back-up, no phone) we all marched back into our non-electrified house. What to do? Once the griping and grumbling stopped, creativity began to kick in. Blessedly we live on a farm, so at least there is always something that needs to be done. Chores aside, the children started playing with each other. They spoke to each other in courteous tones. They cooperated in making up games to play. They read books to each other. I cooked up a delicious pot of beans outside on the grill side-burner. And as the sun went down and darkness began to settle in, so did a little bit of panic. The super-mom instincts kicked in blessedly in order to side-line mass chaos. I began to rummage around and gather up candles and flashlights. Our house started to look like a candle light vigil or a night at the spa, whatever we could imagine it being. The kids were given permission to pile up in the family room, so the whole thing started to have a camp-out kind of feel. Always on the lookout for a teachable moment, I emphasized how back in pioneer days, this was how families operated. Once the daylight was gone, folks went to bed. We were just having a fun adventure, and we should look at it like just that. Then we all snuggled into my bed and I read from my favorite series, Hank the Cowdog, by flashlight. For once we navigated through an evening without the internet, TV, DVD etc. We had time to talk and listen without distraction. My husband, ever the problem-solver, came like a hero around the corner with his super-powered gasoline fueled generator, plugs in hand. I sweetly suggested that we just go with the flow and enjoy the quiet, which we did for a little while. Maybe we could even do this on purpose once a month just for kicks.
And then, as if to prove a point, the lights came back on. Maybe we all need to sit in the dark for a litte while in order to see the light.