Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I'd like to thank the electricity

I feel almost torn about putting up a post, showing I have electricity again, while many in our area do not. The wind storm that came through last Thursday night was powerful, beautiful in ways, but deadly and serious. Most of Oregon and Washington were without power - and the national news is not reporting it, but many of the rural areas are still without it.

So, you get the candles out, and the storm is almost exciting at that point. The candles are pretty and it's a good excuse to sit and sip wine - which is what we did. Martyn cooked pasta by candlelight. But the wind gusts were scary. I feared for the barn roof and our windows getting broken. Going out the next day showed tree tops snapped at the top, signs bent in two and electric fencing strewn about pastures.

I had an appointment with the dogs at the vet, and they too were without power. Without lights, we got the dogs out by the window light and did all their shots and Huck was thrilled with the party like atmosphere. I decided I better get bags of ice for the freezer - I was not going to lose 2 lambs worth of meat. Every where I went I heard of trees in houses, near death escapes from falling trees and cars ruined. Barn roofs ripped off. I knew we would be without for some time, and once you resign yourself to that, you get on with it.

My laptop is a lemon and I've never replaced it, so I started panicking about not being able to pick up email and answer any online sales. But at some point, you just give up the struggle. At the same time we were without power, there were three climbers fighting for their lives on Mt. Hood, and my predicament seemed silly compared to theirs. We could still cook, the animals had ample water in their troughs from heavy rains, and we had the stove for heat. Martyn decided we should be relieving ourselves outside since our well doesn't work without power. I thought it was sort of silly, but agreed, and when I made my first trip out, Little Orange and Plum rushed to greet me as I did my business. I must say, doing your business under stars and crisp air, amongst a group of cats did make me feel like part of the group. By morning it was about 45 in the house. A tad nippy. The power came on about 10 am - we rushed around doing all the things you desperately missed, and now so appreciated. Warm water, the electric toothbrush, washing the dishes, coffee. I kept saying over and over, a little thank you. When we sat down to relax come nitefall, ready for some movies and wine, a nice dinner, out went the lights again. Crueler the second time! At that point, I allowed myself to actually believe I was the center of the universe and started whining, pretty much for the rest of the nite. I blamed it all on over population and deemed I would take the donkeys and go live somewhere else. I announced the power was gone forever, really forever, and decided I was better off in bed.

Without power, life does slow down to some extent. But it also makes one remember just how hard basic survival is in the world. Getting water, making it drinkable, staying warm, feeding yourself, family and pets. That's about it. But without power, that can often consume the day. As I was cleaning the barn in the dimness, I thought how the animals go on with the day and night like they always do, with or without power. Their day is clocked by sun and moon. Their day is always about being themselves without man made things - without whining. Like the baby owl near the barn at dusk.