Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today's Great Idea

Here in the Sierra foothills near Yosemite we are experiencing Nature ... a heavy, wet spring snow fell on already saturated ground resulting in downed trees, rockslides and power outages.  We have been without power for three days and estimates are that it will be another 3-4 before it's back.  We are faring well ... all the basic necessities are covered ... but the psychological adjustments are amusing.  Countless instances of forgetting ... pushing doorbells and expecting them to ring, reaching for a vacuum to clean a dust bunny, flipping a lifeless light switch, over and over the body reacts to the familiar luxury of electricity on demand.

This morning I woke up to the idea of making bread pudding with all the leftover breakfast biscuits I've collected and were now thawing in the freezer.  The frozen bananas were also now soggy so in they went along with the eggs, craisins, walnuts, agave and cinnamon.  The mixture was ready to pop into the oven and I was anticipating the warming of the kitchen that would accompany the baking.  That is until I realized that the oven wouldn't work without the thermostat ... electric, of course.  So, I fried the bread pudding on top of the stove but the house was so dim with just candle light that I really couldn't tell when it was properly browned on the bottom.  It worked ... sort of ... and made a nice if unconventional breakfast.

The cooking was challenging but the clean-up was really a mess what with boiling water a pot at a time, once for washing, once for rinsing, once for cleaning the counters.  During the process I began to think about the long line of women before me who rose every morning before daylight and prepared breakfast for their families.  Biscuits made in the dim light of their kitchens baked on wood fire stoves at best.  My thoughts also went to the villages in Japan and all the areas in the world where war has devastated the infrastructure and people live without power or on a limited few hours per day of access.

So, as I sit in a coffee shop borrowing access to the internet, I wonder about how we've become such an extension of our technology and what we would ever do without it.  We have three dogs and they don't care at all about the lack of electricity.  They seem to actually be reveling in the increased level of attention they have from their boredom-bound humans.  Perhaps there's a lesson here in returning to the comfort of companionship and quiet.

All that aside ... I really hope the power comes back soon.

About the image:  Lewis Creek before the storm