It went out just after nine in the morning yesterday – the second time in as many weeks that storms took down power lines throughout the area. Lights and heat, phone and computer cease their work and noise. Food in the fridge is moved to the red Coleman cooler and cell phone calls are made to Eversource to report the outage. There’s no school, public meetings are rescheduled, and neighbors check in with one another. Some birds pull seeds from one feeder while others cling to the suet feeder. The wind rattles the windows while snow drags tree branches to the ground.

There are some great things that come when the power fails: a break from electronic media, extra family time, and a chance to marvel at nature’s beauty and destructive ability. But showers aren’t pleasant without hot water, clothes can’t be washed, and prepping meals becomes something of challenge without an oven and stove. There is also a reality check involved: modern technology isn’t a given as much as it is a usually reliable but not guaranteed convenience, and without a fireplace or a generator my house gets cold.

There are lines down just around the corner and power may not be restored for a couple more days. The temperature inside the house is hovering at 50 degrees. With my older son flying in for Spring break, my younger son’s school reopening in the morning, my husband facing a full day, and my own work resuming tomorrow, it made sense to book a hotel room for the night – hot showers, warm food, and access to communications are worth the cost. At least for a single night.

It’s a blessing to remember the power of nature, and it’s a gift to be stuck at home with people I love. It’s also a blessing to move into a hotel for the night. I have the benefit of both, inconvenient graces that remind me that I’m privileged with food, clothing, and shelter. Why does it take an outage to remember this (especially in this time of reflection called Lent)?

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