Joseph Conrad wrote that the work of a writer is to reveal the truth so the reader can for one brief moment, experience what it is that the writer is endeavoring to communicate and in that brief moment, the reader will have absolute clarity and escape from his everyday existence.
A flip of a switch sent my household to the beginning of the 20th century at 6 o’clock this morning. Our house went dark while winds and rain battered outside. My mind had already been racing down the hill to the water’s edge where my obligations and charters were being buffeted by a strong southeastern storm. Needless to say I saw the digital clock go out and heard the furnace turn off as I was already awake and aware of my liabilities out in the elements.
This is the day when the power left our home for fourteen hours. This is also the day when I watched my eleven year old daughter fly across the pier apron while hanging onto her umbrella in a 50 knot gale because she was loyal enough to volunteer for boatyard storm watch detail with her father. This was the day when I had to ask myself how do I make Sunday morning coffee and how can I watch the golf tournament without electricity. The coffee was the easy part.
My children took it in stride and by nightfall, we were living the life of an early 20th century rural household not unlike my own clan had enjoyed near the Ozarks. Sitting by the fire watching my children study their lessons by candlelight. Listening to them talk in the quiet air without distractions. Playing charades with my daughter while my wife prepared a meal in a candle lit kitchen. Walking in the rain around my neighborhood, discussing the status of our shared dilemma. Reading by candlelight in a warm bath with absolute silence in the air. What was the problem again?
I was reminded of this question in just one millisecond when our home roared back from it’s time warp with a surge of invisible energy, bringing with it lighting, the whirring of appliances and the humming of a furnace. Just like that our simple day had ended and we were reminded that we were no longer innocent.