/That day the power went out

That day the power went out

By Emily Stonehouse

It started like a normal day; Cheerios in the morning, a second coffee after the kids caught the bus. 

That day the power went out, we all had plans. Meetings, phone calls, errands, tasks. 

But at 9:50, 11,700 houses went dark. There was a lot of speculation as to why. The freezing rain from the night before, a planned outage, an accident. 

Thanks to cell phone data and word of mouth that travels faster than Seabiscuit, we started to learn that the outage was the result of a transport truck hitting a hydro pole between Minden and Haliburton. Once we all learned the driver was okay, we speculated about the duration of the darkness. 

One hour went by. Then two. Then three. 

We started to wonder what we would do with our days. Stores started closing, sending employees home. The uneasiness of the day prior still soaked in our bones; that day when shops had already locked their doors early, hoping their employees wouldn’t end up in the ditches between point a and b. 

And while hydro crews slid on ice and sleet to reconnect the community, we waited, and we wondered. 

That day the power went out, our priorities shifted. We suddenly became mindful of the pace of our days; no longer fuelled by the whirring consistency that is our schedule. 

And while some had generators that kicked in, others did not. Others left emails on read, or phone calls unanswered. The errands were not completed, and the tasks left unfinished. 

We stopped. 

And that day the power went out, we took a breath. 

Some went outside; hiking the trails of the Sculpture Forest or finally clearing out their yards in preparation for Father Winter. 

Some read books. Some set up holiday decorations. Some napped. Some caught up on those monotonous life tasks they’d been putting off, for that time when they had the time. 

Because suddenly, we had that time. And for many, myself included, the uncertainty about how much time we had was initially worrisome. 

Time feels like one of those forms of currency that we can never have enough of.

While some pace their time out in mindful and meticulous manners, many barter it off in exchange for money, for worth, for status. 

But it’s really the most valuable currency of all. Particularly because it will eventually run out. 

But that day the power went out, we were doled out that currency. And some made the most of it. Some panicked. Some thrived. 

Some of us don’t know how to sit in that time. So many of us measure success by our productivity; shrug off downtime as a waste of that precious currency. 

Whereas in reality, rest time is still time well-used. It’s a recharge for our hearts, our minds, our brains. It’s a chance to reconnect with our friends, our family, ourselves. Time doesn’t have to equal money. It can exist simply for the art of existing. 

So when the power came back on, the world kept turning. Emails were answered, phone calls were made, errands were run, and tasks were completed. 

But, we had rested. We had taken a break. We had sat with that time. That gift that so many of us forget about, so often. And, we were able to start again. Cheerios in the morning, a second coffee after the kids caught the bus. 

That day the power went out.