Then the dark came back again. The wild screaming of the storm seemed louder and nearer in the dark. "If only I had some grease I could fix some kind of a light," Ma considered. "We didn't lack for light when I was a girl, before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of."
"That's so," said Pa. "These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves - they're good things to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em."
(The Long Winter, Laura Ingalls WIlder)
Reading about the hardships endured by the Ingalls family, who ran out of fuel, kerosene and nearly of food, in a record long and harsh winter in the Dakotas, made us feel a little warmer yesterday, during a day-long power outage in stormy weather, as we sat by our well-fed fireplace, and a little less in the dark as we lit candles all around the house.
Is there ever a good time to be with no electricity during sever winter weather? Probably not, and yesterday was certainly not the ideal time for us. With Rebecca sick, and needing an (electric!) nebulizer every four hours, and Tom in midst of an international olive oil turmoil caused by the New York Times (here in Italian and here in English) and needing all the (electric!) tools on which nowadays we depend for work - computer, telephone, internet - it was hard not to feel the weight of isolated country living upon us. It was a dark and cold day, and we went to bed early, a piping-hot water bottle and extra blankets for each, while Tom stayed up feeding the fire and working by the quivering light of the candelabra.
He wasn't the only one working into the night, though, and in the screaming winds which blew the snow in every direction, a team from the electric company hauled a generator up to our village and restored power by midnight. And I know that today, as we shovel snow and carry loads of firewood from the barn, we'll have a smile on our face and an extra spring to our step, knowing that our little house in the Italian woods has heat, electricity, a stocked fridge with that turkey that we can now roast, and above all, health and piece restored.