July 26, 2009

Donner and Blitzen

Nope, this isn't about Santa's reindeer. But, as R tells me, those names are also the German words for thunder and lightning and that's the theme this week: the brimstone and fire storm that shook Vancouver last night. It was incredible, magnificent, and terrifying in turn. The thunder began around 4:00 in the afternoon and lasted until 11:00 at night, the sky flashing in different parts of the city the whole time. I don't ever remember a storm lasting as long as this one even considering all the fantastic lightning shows we saw when we lived in Arizona.

The dog was so freaked out he hid in the bathtub and cowered there, shaking and panting. About two hours into it, foolishly thinking the storm had passed, we took him out for a walk and got hit by the next phase: ropes or rain pelting into us and lightning dancing right above our heads. Way beyond the ordinary. We were racing for home and safety when the sky ripped open with a crash and the street went black; the lighting had blown out the power transformers along the entire line and, here's the freaky part: directly over our heads. Close call?

Here's an image that captures things pretty well, as per the The Vancouver Sun

Photograph by: Marirs, Special to the Sun

Anyway, we're lucky; we love candles and have enough of them to light up a church so total darkness wasn't an issue. Sort of romantic too. But, after a day of working out in the garden, we were beat. What we were really looking forward to was kicking back, listening to some music, and then vegging in front the movie we'd rented. Not much chance of that now. No music, no internet, no TV, and not quite enough light to work on my carving by, or to read by. Too early for bed, too wild to go outside. Thank God I'm with a guy who can make his own music.

Somehow, R. pulled together enough energy to grab his accordion and play. All the old songs he wrote years ago spilled out into the night and wind while I sat on the floor in the kitchen and listened, mesmerized as always. I couldn't help thinking about what life must have been like for people, not that long ago really, before electricity was discovered and harnessed. It's so easy to lose sight of everything we take for granted every day until a part of that comfort is temporarily taken away. And it's so easy to forget how priviliged we are to have the luxuries we do have. Sometimes, a few hours in the dark, without all the distractions of our modern world, are not such a bad thing really, as long as we know the lights will eventually come on again.

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