“Why are so many lights on?” Dan used to ask when we were new to each other’s living habits.  “Because I can’t see a thing,” I would answer.  My typical response to winter nights was to turn on every light that I could get my hands on . . . starting at 4pm.  Even mounting electric bills couldn’t curb my craving for brightly lit rooms.

But then the unexpected happened:  a hurricane-like storm with winds gusting to
70 mph left us without power.  My response?  I lit candles (a lot of candles, mind you).  As we entered our third day without power, we fell backwards in time to a prairie-like feeling of simple living.  Life unplugged — no TV; no internet; no movies — no nothing but candlelight and conversation.

 Finally, on Sunday night, well into our 70th hour sans electricity, just as I was gathering the matches and candles for our new nightly ritual – the power came back on.  You’d think I’d have been thrilled to be able to take a shower, check emails and flush the toilets (well, yes I was . . . duh).  But the electric lights shocked me.  They felt harsh, intrusive and even garish.

That night, even as we ran the dishwasher and welcomed hot water back into our midst, I (the flood-light hog with the motto ‘no light is too bright’) insisted that we turn off every electric light and spend the evening, again, in candlelight.  Who knew I would experience such a profound peacefulness by settling into the darkness?  So now, if you were to visit 11 Harvey Lane when dusk begins to fall, you’d see me calmly moving about the house, lighting my candles and whispering the word “unplugged.”

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2 thoughts on “Unplugged

  1. sarahelecta

    Hi Ashely
    There! I’ve just figured out how to comment. Just wanted to say that I do really enjoy reading your weekly entries. I like the way you write and enjoy the content as well. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. petert

    I SO hear you, Ashley. Tomorrow I am heading for the Dominican Republic to
    do dentistry in an orphanage on the north-west coastal area about 20mi from
    the Haitian border. Life here in NH can present so many pulls and
    distractions that I allow to exhaust me. Going to a economically challenged
    area of the world and attempting to connect with the people at a basic level
    is SO restorative and centering, as is being “deprived” of electricity,
    which we have come to expect without question.
    When I was in Haiti in the 80’s doing dentistry in a squatters’ settlement
    outside Port-au-Prince, I realized at a deep, heart, level that material
    abundance and joy is not a prequisite to joy. I need to be reminded of that
    from time to time.
    Blessings, Peter

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