Friday, September 9, 2011

In the Dark

normally this view is full of city lights

just when i was feeling a little smug about the fact that we finally broke down last year and got air-conditioning and even though we’ve only needed it a few times, yesterday was one of those days – with a  rare 90+ degree temperature.  i had just returned home from a meeting and so appreciated walking into that cool house when – bam – everything shut down.

at first you wait, thinking that it’s coming back on at any moment, but when it didn’t and when we couldn’t get through at all to the power company, we realized this was something on a larger scale.  yea, like in the millions.  big time.  the entire county of san diego (which is huge), parts of orange county, palm springs, arizona and mexico.  one fell swoop.

hangin in the shade with the battery powered radio
 our own needs were pretty simply taken care of.  we have flashlights and lanterns, a trusty battery-powered radio, cell phones, a grill and a gas stove and water heater and a motorhome with an inverter and generator if we need it.  but we couldn’t help thinking about the huge numbers of folks stuck in hot gridlock as everyone tried to leave work at the same time.  or those in elevators or amusement park rides.  or trailers in the desert.  sobering.

dinner by lantern light

we were able to sleep as the temperatures cooled a bit, but i was awake at 1:30.  i was lying there worrying about the status of the milk and butter in my refrigerator and all that ice cream in the stores when the phones started making some weird beeps and next time i looked at my clock, it was glowing.  huge relief.  10 hours in all.

not the end of the world, but quite a wake-up call.  these systems that we rely on are so fragile.  apparently some worker made an error and plunged the whole area into darkness.  wow.  we live in such a civilized society, but that comes with huge dependence on our utilities.  without electricity, gas and water, everything comes to a grinding halt.  it was amazing how quickly all the stores and gas stations closed down (!)

we are always hearing how we should prepare for emergencies.  it’s not a matter of if they will happen, only when.  i know we are going to be taking steps to be more prepared.  i hope you will too.

i posted this quote on facebook earlier this week: 

"Just think how happy you'd be if you lost everything you have right now - and then, got it back again....." Anonymous

didn’t know how close to home this was going to come, but i’m feeling extra grateful today!!


  1. That quote is very good! Sometimes it's necessary to experience difficulties to understand what we just takes for granted.

  2. Such a nice photograph of you two sitting on the porch. It's true, we do take things for granted. Donna

  3. wow...that's pretty amazing that everything shut down for that long because of one persons error!!

  4. Even in darkness you seem to capture some terrific photos. I usually check out your blog at the end of the day because it is so relaxing to read the story behind your photos.

    Our son was also caught in the blackout, he works in Temecula and had to get to SFC. He arrived at 3:30 AM and fortunately had sufficient gas to get him to Orange County or he would have missed his meeting entirely and the load of products he had to deliver.

    We are never prepared for these events....You set a good example for all of us. SMILES AND ALL.

  5. It has surprised me how fragile the power grid is here in the States. During those ten years I have lived in California I experienced more power outages than during 40 years in Germany. Yes, we do have an entire emergency shed that would bring us through a week - after that, it'd get tight. Let's hope we'll never need it.

  6. So true, Patty. But late into the night, when I should have been sleeping, I went outside, and just LOVED the dark sky, the stars, the bright artificial beautiful. jane

  7. Dear Patty-I totally know what you mean!! It was a bit scary (especially with a little one) to think of how we rely so much on electricity. I felt so cut off from the world in many ways! Not going to take that for granted again!!
    I love your previosu post...touching the scared. Love love love..the words, images and the sentiment. And the Native American music...made me feel like I was right there with you:) xxx

  8. P.S. gotta' get together + catch up soon:)

  9. My real trouble with power outages is that Atlas' food is kept in the freezer. Then again, I feel sure he would not mind if I had to feed him extra food so it didn't spoil. ;)


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