Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Not connected

I am temporarily off the grid for a while at the cabin since a severe thunderstorm swept through last evening. Power was out. Internet was out. TV was out. The power came back on fairly quickly but not the rest. The storm had threatened all evening, thundering from virtually every direction around me but always several miles off. Then came a brighter flash of lightning, followed by a loud boom of thunder and everything went dark. Floradora my cat bolted off the bed and ran under it. She is terribly afraid of thunderstorms, the only cat I’ve ever owned who even seems to notice them.

Up on the mountain where I live, losing power and other digital connections to modern life is a fairly regular occurrence. The power line comes up and down two mountains and across what passes in this area for a little swamp before it reaches me. The cut through the forest for the power line isn’t a wide one, so every time a tree falls, I lose power. And there are a lot of trees in that mile or so through the forest. Even out on the hard road off which my power travels, the forest-lined road is subject to trees falling onto lines. The hard road is somewhat wider than the power line cut, but it’s not wide enough to be immune from damage caused by a falling tree.

I don’t have a generator, though I do have a non-electric heat source to get me through winter power outages. The loss of internet and television is an inconvenience, but I’m used to it. Periodically, the lack reminds me of the days, years really, when I didn’t have access to either and didn’t really mind. These days, internet access seems as necessary as electricity, though I know it’s really a habit of connectivity more than anything.

I keep lanterns handy, both battery-powered and match-lit.  I have a wind-up alarm clock, though these days an alarm app on my cell phone gets more use. I have a battery pack to charge the cell phone, too, for those times when power is out for days on end.

During outages I find I miss seeing a storm’s approach on radar more than anything. To me, watching a storm’s radar path is how I determine if I need to head to the basement to shelter or not. Knowing that the torrential rain that’s falling will be past its worst with the next radar pass is comforting, or it tells me if it’s time to drag out the sump pumps.

Not knowing when the storm will pass or if the rain will continue unabated for hours seems odd now, though not knowing was the norm for much of my life here in the cabin. It didn’t take very long to get used to having that information at my fingertips, and it’s only when it’s not available that I realize that what seems like a necessity really isn’t.


Countryside Tales said...

You're so right about confusing necessity with convenience. Not many of us are given the opportunity to undergo a reality check period anymore. I'm quite envious. It must be peaceful there right now. :-)

Scott said...

First image is beautiful--very "Asian."

We "got hit" twice with tremendous downpours yesterday--once at 4 p.m., and once again early this morning (Tuesday) about 2 a.m. Fortunately, we didn't lose electricity in either event. Our power source is cut through a too-narrow woodland corridor, too, so I certainly know whereof you speak.

Terry and Linda said...

I've been having trouble with our internet here and I we are on the grid! As soon as I can find a better internet provider....I'm hoping over to them!


Carolyn H said...

Countryside: I'm reconnected today. It's always quiet at the cabin, but being totally unconnected lets me pay more attention to the sounds of the forest around me. Even better, it's now cool enough that I could turn off the air conditioner and fans, so I can really hear the forest now!

Carolyn H said...

Scott: I heard Lebanon really got hit with this torrential rain that's been floating around for a few days. I missed most of that and am very glad the humidity and temperature is dropping now. I resisted an air conditioner for 18 year until climate change finally got to me. Still, I'm thrilled that I could turn the thing off after a week solid with it on.

Carolyn H said...

Terry and linda, There's only one internet provider in my area, but I'm not complaining (too much). It's only been 2 years that I've been able to use something other than dial-up!