Here in the monochrome light of the early morning, the sky just begins to lighten, all color is still shades of grey, including the brilliant aspens across river visible from the comfort of my chair, their silhouettes bland and indistinct against the looming hillside, shaded by the canopy of the heavy, drifting clouds. The autumn leaves are memories of a spectacle I know is there but does not expose itself to me now.
My morning ritual of both receiving and writing a quick note to a friend so far away and yet so very close, before I open a blank page and begin to write, is interrupted with the power outage, a regular occurrence in stormy weather for those of us with solar power. Take nothing for granted. We are grateful for the abundant electricity and reliable services when the sun does shine. But we know we can do without. There is so much we have, we use, we rely on, that once without, we remember how little we need.
Simple things. Like flicking a switch to turn on a light. We remember we can instead strike a match, light a candle. When was the last time you went without power? Can you do it by choice? One thing at time… start with the lights, keeping them off. Oh, it is romantic! We learn to see, or not, perhaps go to bed early. That isn’t so bad! Our eyes adjust, then pick up the slightest changes of light, like now, as the sky brightens, noticeably yet so finely, with each minute that passes.
I look around regularly and see how much I have that I can do without. How much more I have than I really need. How much of this I do take for granted, and how much is the core essence of what really matters. My boys. My animals. The mountain. The heat of the wood stove or fire. A simple meal. Friendship from time to time. Good hard work and point to every day.
What do we do with all the rest of this?