Enter the Quiet

© karylmc/WANA Commons

© karylmc/WANA Commons

There is something very specific and unique about the sound of a house without power.  Absolute dead silence.  A complete and total void of noise.  A quiet so deep that it is like a presence.  A presence hovering and intruding on your peaceful slumber.  Rousing you with deep silent fingers, feeling the wrongness creeping over your body and awakening your senses.  Bringing you to consciousness with the realization that something is off.  It is quiet.  Too quiet.

The normal hum of electronics that is never noticed, but always there . . . gone.  The fan which runs each night as white noise, helping you sleep . . . silenced.  All of the ambient noises that constantly hover around you at night as you sleep . . . now absent.

As your faculties come to you, you become cognizant of another reality.  The darkness.  A deep darkness that envelopes you in the wee hours of the morning.  Void of the usual glow of soft green and orange numbers from clocks and DVRs, from hall nightlights whose soft light usually drifts like smoke under your closed door.

You learn later that a car crashed into a pole, thus taking out the electricity of an entire neighborhood.  My neighborhood.  Because of a possibly drunk, careless or sleepy driver, the street on which I live was blanketed in complete darkness and silence.  A darkness that also awakened my oldest son, who rushed to his parents room to snuggle in, deathly frightened of that total all-encompassing darkness.  Seeking a safe haven in the silence and blackness of the now still night.  Three people in a bed usually reserved for only two, worried and wondering as to when the power would be restored.  Trying to return to the safety of his dreams in order to wait out the quiet, unrelenting night.

Morning light alleviates some of the strangeness of the night, and the sound of a generator breaks the former quiet.  You wake from fitful dreams to find that you still cannot see numbers glowing on your clock, so have no idea what time it is.  While the day has dawned bright, it is also extremely cold.  The lack of power in the house all night, and therefore lack of heat, has caused a chill to permeate your entire home.  And while you are still snug under your covers, your thoughtful husband adds an extra layer of blankets, warning you that it is extremely chilly outside of the safety of the bed.  You set the alarm on your iPhone for much later than you would normally rise, realizing that without power, you will be unable to complete your normal chores while your husband and kids are at church.  Without a functioning washer and dryer, shower or coffee pot, you might as well get an extra hour of sleep since last night’s drama has sapped you of a restful sleep.

Once you finally drag yourself out of the warmth of your bed, you go into the bathroom and realize you will have to be creative if you wish to brush your teeth and wash your face, as there is no water in your faucet.  You go down to the kitchen and grab a jug of water you had recently bought, not expecting to use it for this purpose, but thankful you have it on hand.

You await the projected reactivation of your power, which is currently being reported as occurring at 10:30.  Another check updates that projection to 1:00.  You sit bundled in hooded sweatshirt, socks and a blanket to try to stay warm as you check email on your phone.  Anxiously awaiting your husband’s return home, hopefully providing you with some much needed hot coffee.

And then . . . you hear it.  A click, then a buzz.  A hum permeates the room.  The sound of the refrigerator running.  The DVR turning back on.  Power restored.

Things back to normal.  Everything working as it should.  Like waking from a bad dream that begins to dissipate as soon as you awake.  As if it never actually happened.  Reality restored.  The darkness and silence left behind.

© C.Cal.Shoot/WANA Commons

© C.Cal.Shoot/WANA Commons

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hiddinsight
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 08:53:59

    Nicely written 🙂 I can relate…and sometimes I don’t know which one I like better…power or no?

    Reply

  2. Go Jules Go
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 09:06:19

    Oh man, Misty, this was way too well written – my stomach is knotted, feeling the memories of post-Hurricane Sandy!

    I’m really glad it didn’t take too long to get restored – I know every hour is an eternity! I am so, SO thankful we didn’t lose power with this Friday’s blizzard.

    On the upside, there’s really no excuse NOT to start drinking at any hour when you don’t have power.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Feb 19, 2013 @ 10:55:51

      Well, since I couldn’t have caffiene, I thought about ripping open some Bailey’s or Kalhua. You know, just to keep warm! 😉

      Thanks for saying that about this one. I was afraid I would lose everyone because it was too serious with not even a hint of humor (or pictures of asses). I mean, what is happening to me, Jules? Am I becoming a . . . gulp . . . writer or something??

      Reply

  3. about100percent
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 09:06:21

    Lovely. You perfectly captured the gentleness of a time without power. After all the crying and whining that occurs because of the inconvenience and injustice of it all. Or maybe that’s just at my house? Great piece.

    Reply

  4. rachelocal
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 15:32:25

    A house without power is so eerie. My friends and family in Massachusetts are still without power due to the blizzard they just had.

    Nice post. 🙂

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Feb 19, 2013 @ 10:57:01

      Yeah, a few hours is annoying but tolerable. When it turns into days, that is the worst because you lose a ton of food and just can’t function normally in your own home. Dreadful.

      Thanks. 🙂

      Reply

  5. thoughtsappear
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 18:56:50

    It’s too cold to be without power for too long!

    Reply

  6. Vesta Vayne
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 19:21:16

    Isn’t it strange how much we tune out? I would have had difficulties sleeping too, I need the constant noise!

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Feb 19, 2013 @ 10:58:39

      I NEED noise. You would think I grew up in a city or something. But we live in the very quiet country, and it is eery quiet. I need some type of noise to sleep.

      Reply

  7. Valerie
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 21:52:14

    You never truly realize how much you rely upon electricity until its gone… It’s kinda crappy.

    Glad everyone is ok.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

    Reply

  8. Jennifer June Clark
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 22:48:16

    I love it when the power goes out. Except in an East Coast winter. Or an Arizona summer. But other than that….. I like the quiet.

    Reply

  9. winopants
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 23:26:34

    Losing power is so disorientating, especially the silence part. Kinda fun when everything powers back up though, like magic.

    Reply

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