Now, where did I leave that?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pioneer Womon!

Sometimes we come face to face with some ugly truths about ourselves.  I like to imagine myself as a 'rustic-living', rugged (okay, semi-rugged), adaptable creature who can roll with the punches; I imagine I can look adversity in the face and offer it an Altoid.  And then we lost electricity for 24 hours thanks to 8" of wet, heavy snow.  I sat in our cold, dark livingroom and the truth glaring at me was this: I love roughing it...on my terms.  I can be happy as a clam (once and for all, why are we so convinced clams are happy?) lighting my steps with cute little lanterns while the Full Moon brightens the night and stars are scattered across the sky.  I can savor the deep, dark aroma of coffee percolated on the camp stove when it's Dean's Beans' organic fair trade Ring of Fire blend, ground specifically for percolating the day before, and sipped beside an early morning camp fire, accompanied by sharp-as-a-ginsu-knife cheddar cheese and my own spicy cranberry-pumpkin bread.  I can grin and bear using a campground restroom as long as the toilets flush....because hey, it's a campground we chose to be at, on a trip we planned and prepared for.  But an unexpected power outage?  (Please note: by unexpected, I mean that the neighbors told me today it's the first time in EIGHT years that they've lost power for more than five minutes).  I discovered that I'm no pioneer womon.  In fact, I'm a comfort-loving weenie womon. Give me heat and hot water on demand--although I'd settle for just RUNNING water; no one ever explained to me that having a well means there's no pump from the well if the power goes out! Oh, there were neat little Laura Ingalls Wilder moments, like Linda figuring out that we should use bags filled with snow to keep the freezer cold, and me realizing that we could catch roof runoff in buckets in order to have water to flush the toilets (granted, Laura didn't have flush toilets; Pa just dug 'em an outhouse every so often).  There was a cozy game of candlelight Scrabble (Linda won again, damn that late-in-the-game 'Y'), and two can definitely stay warmer than one!  But the words 'your power has been restored' were magical, and it immediately felt as if MY power had been restored!  I could once again leap tall buildings, cook a meal, flush the toilet!  In two hours' time the camp stove was packed up, lanterns and flashlights retired, the dishwasher was miraculously filling with HOT water and scrubbing away, coffee was brewing, and the pellet stove was working its magic, giving those bright, hot, yellow-white flames a good workout (pellet stoves require electricity to run, in case you were wondering).  I'll admit to maybe turning on an extra light or two because...well...I could.

But from this experience, there's renewed gratitude for those things so often taken for granted, so please indulge me as I offer thanks to:

The Cuisinart coffeemaker who exists to serve me rich, fabulous, fragrant, steaming coffee exactly when I want it.

The St. Croix Prescott EXL pellet stove with its sweet little Queen Anne legs and dancing fire that warms us to our very bones.

The well pump, to whom I've never been formally introduced but nonetheless showers us, not to mention freely running water from every sink tap, never asking anything in return.
(okay, I have no idea what OUR well pump actually looks like.....)

And let me not forget the computer & internet!!!  I can live without TV or radio, but pleeeasssseee don't take away my internet connection!  Thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the internet, thank you to Bill Gates and all those geeks (said with utmost respect and gratitude) who have given me the world at my fingertips!

Hey, I'm grateful for all those things that the Universe offers so freely and lovingly--Earth to hold us close, Air to give us wings,  Fire to warm and inspire us, Water to sustain and carry us.  But let's give a round of applause to the little things that make daily life so much easier and allow us the time and space to be pioneers on the frontiers of mind and spirit.

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