The Disappointment of Electricity

Two nights ago the power went out over the whole neighborhood. We got our flashlights and went out for a walk, because the stars would be more visible without the streetlights and houselights. And they were. I noticed that some, besides the planets, were differently colored than other stars–usually they all seem like sharp points of blue white light.

The night seemed more palpable, the darkness more velvety; bats came closer, raggedly flapping. Owls swooped lower. Other people were out too, talking, the mood almost festive. They were confident the lights would come back on, their televisions and computers and the combination TV and PC. Meanwhile they seemed almost relieved the power was off. (My youngest son, walking with us, of course had brought electronics along, and looked into his phone while he listened to music).

Then, before we had walked back home, the lights came back on–and, not for the first time on an occasion like this, I felt disappointment. I felt a trap closing in on me again. I looked at other people on the street turning off their flashlights and walking home. They seemed disappointed, too.

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