There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Conditions: Snow in the Barrens, Power Out at Home

It was two days before Christmas, and in any normal sort of year, that would mean I'd be wrapping packages and baking like a fiend, trying to get presents and cookies and pies in order for visiting. But I already did our Christmas baking, and we wrapped up our visits and travels and gifting by mid-week. So it was annoying, but it wasn't quite a crisis, when the power went out.

I was getting ready for my morning walk, and I had announced my departure to my husband minutes before the power flickered off and on a few times, and then finally went out for good. The heavy winds had just started, really; I thought the power might be at risk, but I had no idea it would go so QUICKLY on this day.

I acted immediately: I got out an old tone/pulse phone and called in the outage to the power company; a message told me power was expected back on by 11:30 a.m. I learned later that around 70,000 people were without power; some of them still are.

It was just above freezing when I left, but I knew that the temperatures outside would be dropping like a lead balloon, and so I hastened on my way. When I left for my walk, things were strange at home (and I never even got a hot cup of tea!), without power. But in the Barrens, things felt much more normal. It snowed a bit during my walk and I visited my favorite pond, then strolled just a little further. Above is a photo of snow among the trees.

I'd like to tell you that by some Christmas miracle, the power was back when I got home, but it wasn't. It was 24 degrees F when I got home about an hour later. Then it REALLY got cold. By early afternoon, we were in single digits F outdoors.

11:30 came and went, and the power stayed off. We are in an all-electric heated house, so we felt the impact almost instantly. By early afternoon, my husband and I had put on our long underwear and closed a bunch of drapes and begun discussing strategies for how best to manage the house to avoid tragedies during a power outage at single degrees F. We kept the fridge and freezer closed. We put towels and blankets around the garage door, and around all of the other doors and windows in the house.

We made bets on how soon the power would be back. My husband said by mid-afternoon. I think I said 6 p.m. But at around 2:35 p.m. or so, Chirp Chirp Chirp went the smoke detector, which is wired into our electric system, and so it is a helpful indicator (if the lights flashing isn't enough of a sign for you) that the power is back on.

We were among the lucky ones. As of Saturday mid-afternoon as I write this, 20 thousand people in Pennsylvania are still without power. It is hard to be festive when you are cold and worried sick about your house, the people in it, and pets; when you can't properly celebrate a favorite holiday; when you can't even make or serve a hot meal. We hope and pray that they are back in power SOON.

We thank the heroes who work for the power companies who get sent out in horrible conditions to fix things and bring the lights back. We are among the grateful and lucky ones: we head into Christmas eve with light, and heat, and electricity, thanks to some local hero(es) who helped bring the power back ON.

Happy Christmas to that person/those people, and happy Christmas to YOU!

My soundtrack song is this one: Girl Named Tom, with Wichita Lineman.

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