Yesterday over breakfast Ronan asked me, “mom, was there civilization when you were a kid?”
Now, I am 37 years old. Things are different now from when I was young, no internet, definately no facebook, no cell phones, but we had civilization. It brought a little giggle from me, but I remembered that every question is worth asking and is asked to solve a problem or find an answer.
After thinking about this I realized that his question was brought about from what happened the night before.
The rural community we are in lost power. The family was all together, all 5 kids and 6 adults, but no power.
It was -25 degrees celcius.
The power went out at 5pm and stayed out for 12 hours. We brought out the candles, finished cooking dinner by flashlight, ate by candlelight, started the fire and sat in the dark together giggling, telling stories and playing.
Of course the stories we told were stories of the “old days.” What Great Grandma’s family did growing up with no power. How things would have been different in the evening when it became dark. How Grandma truly lived off the land when she was young growing up in a family that was homesteading. How my dad drew water from the well for the family in Jamaica.
Would storytelling have been a bigger tradition with no TV, computers, internet, cell phones to distract us? Only candle light to read by?
We also reflected on how quiet it was.
The absence of light and noise was actually quite beautiful.
For the 4 of us, just coming back from Seoul, South Korea, a city of over 20 million where everything is accessible 24 hours of the day, the difference in noise and constant artificial light was very apparent to us when we first returned.
But because of the power outage we realized we were starting to take these things for granted again.
For the first few weeks we would stop before bed and watch the stars light up the sky, the way we could not living in the big city. Or sit and listen to the silence (minus a few coyotes and barking dogs at times) that was otherwise nonexistent in Seoul.
During this forced power outage the kids did turn on the ipads for a minute, but sensing a time where everyone was there and very present, devices that had battery life were turned off. We enjoyed the time together.
The next day my kids were happy that the power was back on. We were thankful that we had a warm place to come into from the winter cold, we had lights to see our way, and yes, that we had power to charge our electronics.
Even still, we spent the day reading, making crafts, playing and cooking.
Sometimes it takes us to go without, to remember how much we truly have.