The power went tonight. Now that we’re midway between summer solstice and fall, it’s getting dark considerably sooner at night. And with the heavy cloud cover, it was pretty dark when the lights went out at around 10:30pm. Given the night owl nature of my family, plus the fact that Ian wasn’t home yet, it’s no surprise that the boys came upstairs instead of just going to bed. Despite the fantastic light display to the east, they were soon complaining of boredom. Not for long, though…
“Mom, should I light some candles?” Timothy asked. He and Andrew both had their flashlights on, but those wouldn’t last long. Out came the candles, and then the fun began.
At first it was just quiet warmth, for me at least. Two candles in the kitchen, one in the bathroom… and seven softly lighting the living room as we all sat or lay around on the couches. And I thought, isn’t this the perfect illustration of living in the present moment? I mean, what else can you do when everything else is taken away… even reading a book, as Timothy mournfully pointed out.
How long are two teenagers and an 11-year-old going to sit around and do nothing? Not long…
There are two events that justify “playing with fire” in our household. Birthdays… and power outages.
On birthdays, the family custom is for everyone to have a turn blowing out the candles. Ian loves to light a wooden match and see how many candles he light before risking burning his fingers. It wasn’t long before the kids, one by one, were doing the same thing under his supervision.
As for power outages, they happen often enough, but usually it’s just a few brief blips and then the power is back on again. But when it’s off for a couple of hours, especially at night, it’s Party Time!!!
Tonight the boys had double the fun, because they found some disposable cigarette lighters up in the cupboard above the fridge, along with the matches. I didn’t even know they were there, but apparently Irene bought them one time in case we needed them during a storm.
So there’s Timothy on one side of the table, and Andrew on the other, each with a lighter held to the candle burning in the middle, seeing how high they could make the combined flame go!
Or Andrew, dropping a wooden match on the candle, where it rested at the base of the flame, alight at both ends, causing three flames.
Or Andrew, laying one, two, or three squares of bathroom tissue on a metal plate, lighting them with a lighter, and watching the fascinating display… which, I admit, was a feast for the eyes for me… I am fascinated by flames licking and consuming paper of any form. Sometimes I really wish we had a video camera…
Or Timothy, coming in from the deck holding a squat, thick glass candle holder which was flaming furiously and apparently endlessly because he had put a wadded up square of tissue on top of the candle, and the wax kept coming up around it, and burning continuously. “How do I get it to stop???” “Blow on it, silly.” He did. And Andrew did. And it kept burning brightly. They eventually got it out, but the top half inch of the candle holder is quite blackened!
Ian got home half an hour after the power went out. He’d been at the girls’ place working on Vicki’s computer. The outage wasn’t just in our general area… we are powered by Westlock, even though it’s 20 minutes away. Most of Westlock was also in blackness, which cut short Ian’s efforts. That is where the storm was centred, and he drove home in a severe downpour. It lightened up about three miles from home, and by the time he got home, there was no rain at all. Indeed, we got no rain the whole time the power was out.
For most of the two hours, I was lying down. I had a headache and my head felt heavy and strange all day… I’d had a two hour nap from 6-8pm… and I was still feeling lethargic and dopey. I enjoyed watching the boys… from the couch.
Tonight was such a perfect example, not only of living in the present moment, but of turning a bad situation around and making a fun time out of it. Maybe even a profitable time, because it’s a controlled environment in which to learn about fire and its properties.
It made me think of another night a few years ago… which I will share in a separate post. It’s something I wrote about at the time, and posted on my blog-which-no-longer-exists. I think it will evoke some laughs…
© Willena Flewelling