“Wait! Let’s split the Wet Ones™ napkin!”
I looked at my mom and we broke up laughing. Seriously? This is what it comes down to and I can’t even be annoyed at the fact that we are using Wet Ones™ found in our odds n ends drawer from the last century because we cannot use our sink, or our soap because everything is by candle light and it’s amazing that one day we were running water like it was our job and the next we were the Swiss Family Robinsons of New England. I sit in the car and get happy because the heat is on. It doesn’t take much these days.
We’ve been out of power the last two days (and counting...). Telephone wires look like sling shots, pine trees pull against them as if they might launch themselves upward into the rolling sky. Road closures, the black coal eyes of traffic lights, trees whose middles have been sheared off by the guillotine winds, the swamp that sits idly as it waits for more, more, more rain so that it can move - at last- over Rte 236 - the cord of road connecting towns to A Way Out. To Portsmouth. These are the last reminders of a storm that blew through here Thursday night with wind gusts at 91mph.
I have found respite at two places: Planet Fitness, my gym and guy-grunt-room-extraordnaire (for showers and bathroom and, of course, workouts) as well as Breaking New Grounds in Portsmouth (for loads of coffee), which is where I write today.
In this small space of two days, much has changed, and nothing has. Everything is culled down to the simplest form. Things are used only when necessity demands it. I went to bed with the dark and was up with the dawn. I read by candlelight. I know how to light the gas stove without the pilot light. I own three kerosene lamps and the light they give off has never felt so precious. I like the way the blue of the moon fills my living room. I’ve never seen it lay on the town the way it does without the street lamps poking holes.
It’s the same feeling I get when I go camping in the Whites for the weekend. We are stripped down we are using only what we bring we hold only what we can carry and we are filled with the expansive clearing that leaves only what is important. Then we are launched into working, mobile, easy world. Technology, our advances - it all seems briefly new. Then we pick up our commodities like old habits: here the internet works and my phone is charged and I am warm without my jacket on and I can see across the room. And we soon forget. I am happy to not forget today. And likely tomorrow, and probably I will be ready for this weird hybrid-19th-century-feeling to be so over. But right now everything is precious. I don’t want to forget I mustn’t forget lock it in your mind remember how it feels. Everything is precious, even the halved Wet One™.
Hold your day close.