There is nothing but night and fire on this early morning. All else is gone. Word has it that a substation twenty miles away has blown. Crews are still trying to figure things out. At last count, nearly twenty thousand people are without power. A minor inconvenience, really, were it not that this is one of the coldest days of the year.
But there is a fire in the fireplace to warm the house and a dog on my lap to keep me company. As luck would have it, I managed to brew a pot of coffee just before everything went kaput. Here I sit under a blanket, watching the orange flames dance off a wall that in thirty minutes will catch the first rays of sun over the mountains. All is quiet and sleeping. And I have just realized that in this moment, I am as peaceful as I have been in a very long while.
Funny how that happens, isn’t it? Sitting here on this dark January morning with all of modernity’s trappings stripped away. Back to the nuts and bolts of living. It’s worth nothing that human civilization thrived for thousands of years with little more creature comforts than I am enjoying right now. I feel a strange kinship that reaches far back from where and when I sit. I wonder how many men how many times before have greeted their day with nothing but a fire and their dogs.
No email to check, no news to watch. Right now, I am blissfully disconnected from the world and utterly attached to everything that is real.
That this has happened so close to the New Year has gotten me thinking about resolutions. There was a time when such a thing was a priority in my life. I greeted every January 1 with not one vowed To Do but several, a long list of things to change and improvements to make. That mostly ended right around the time the kids arrived. It isn’t their fault. I just got tired of the constant disappointment of beginning the new year a new person, only to find the old me was really there all along.
I was always adding something, you see. Always thinking the way to move forward in my life was to either get or become more of something. There’s a certain logic to it, however childish that logic may be—more equals better. I think a lot of us fall for that one.
Sometimes it takes mornings like this to see things as they really are. There are times in life when everything is as silent and dim as it is in my living room right now. We blame others for that. We blame God. Sometimes we even blame ourselves. But maybe it isn’t a matter of blame at all. Perhaps it’s more an opportunity to understand that having more often means needing less.