Halfway through the day the power failed here, so emphatically that even the mobile phone masts were affected, and there was no way to communicate with anyone in the outside world: this was unfortunate since I had an afternoon fully booked with client and other appointments by phone but no way to let them know of the situation. I did not even have the means to call the power company to ask how long it would take to repair the line.
So, I resigned myself to the situation, mentally sending apologies to my clients, and put some water in a pot to heat on top of the wood burner so that I could have a cup of tea at least. It was a good time for reflection and observation: the house is quiet always apart from the sounds of nature, but the lack of any electrical hum created a silence which was remarkable, broken only by wind and water so loud they magnified the already tangible stillness. I watched the life beyond my window, seeing sheep grazing as they sheltered beneath old hedgerows and birds flitting between trees as they looked for food, fighting to remain balanced in the strong gusts; their world went on as normal, unaffected in any way by the power cut which was disturbing most of the humans in the area affected.
The minor incident of an inconvenient loss of power for a few hours nonetheless touched me in a number of ways, and it has reminded me, again, of my dependency on energy generation - for warmth, food, phones, e-mails, water, and the tools to do my work like recording software. Not so long ago, phones did not need electrical power, boreholes did not need pumps, ranges just needed fuel, and recorders were simple and battery operated: Why did we choose to make so many aspects of our lives entwined intractibly with power only available from outside forces? Our reliance has become dangerous, particularly when our power providers often are from foreign lands.
I am lucky in that the electrical supply has been restored and that, while it is stormy still, my home is warm and lit. Many others are not so fortunate, and not only are without power but are threatened with serious flooding, loss of life and property. Storms are a fact of life now, creating major challenges in many ways and there is a limit as to what can be done to manage them. Power supply is another matter: it is possible to reduce our dependency and find alternatives to enable a continuation of normal life if power is lost. I wonder why we don't?