January 3, 2006

On Powerlessness

Well, that was… interesting. What does it mean when the new year comes in with a fizzle? We drove home from Seattle in the midst of a huge storm. It has been raining constantly in the Pacific Northwest for a couple of weeks now, which is no surprise. But add to that a few days of torrential downpour, and you end up with floods, mudslides, trees down all over the place, and tons of road closures. Eureka/Arcata in particular becomes an island, since there is no way in or out of here without driving through one of several mountain passes, all of which are prone to mudslides an are closed during storms. (Which is a big reason why we live here as a week in Seattle made clear. Where the hell did all those people come from?) Anyway, we were able to sneak through Grant’s Pass right before it closed, and the trip was not what I would call uneventful. We hit several huge areas of standing water over the road, one of which we couldn’t see at all and almost ripped the steering wheel out of Brian’s hands. We also just missed hitting a rock about the size of a marmot that bounced down off the cliff and across the road, slamming into the barrier on the other side. We got to Crescent City in the pouring rain just after they reopened 101 after clearing away huge redwoods that had fallen across the road. We made it home just before the storm really broke loose and pretty much every road closed. We spent a night hearing the wind bounce things off our roof, and our power went out about 9 am on December 31st. We got it back yesterday, January 1 at about 2 in the afternoon, so we spent new year’s eve laying in front of the fire to keep warm and reading by candlelight. It was actually quite nice and beautiful. I wanted to take a photo, but then I realized that my camera battery was dead. As was my cell phone and new iPod. Our laptops had juice, but we couldn’t get online. No TiVO, no stereo, no clocks. It took us a day to realize that we had an old phone that wasn’t cordless that we could plug in and at least call some folks. I realized that I am much too dependent on electricity. I felt lost and way too upset that I couldn’t plug in. How did this happen? I spent a good year of my life living in a tent with no power at all to speak of, and I was perfectly happy. How can my whole life be disrupted when the power goes out for 24 hours when there was no electricity at all for most the the history of humankind? It really is incredible. So, 2006 came in without much fanfare, and with more reflection that I had planned. Maybe it was reminder to unplug every once in a while and realize how good we have it.

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Potluck Season: Not Nearly as Glamorous as it Sounds Today, we are given the day off to remember the principles of the good reverend doctor, and to make last minute preparations for Spring semester