Although I have a lot of time to myself and spend most of the day quietly, I know that if I get bored, or writing isn’t going well, or I just want a break I can put the radio or TV on as a distraction. I can type straight onto the computer, I can phone someone and – when the battery on the mobile is low – I can put a plug in a socket and as if by magic everything will work again.
So yesterday, when we had a power cut, I had a bit of a culture shock. After having something to eat and playing cards, I sat in the dimness with candles flickering and the fire attempting to roar. And I felt the strongest urge to write.
I wrote about the fire guard. It once stood in my grandparents’ house, and now it stands in mine, a reminder of my childhood.
I wrote about my partner’s memories. The comfort he felt in the familiar warmth, how the sounds of the fire were the soundtrack of his winters.
I wrote about the fire itself. The power of the flames, how they were reflected in the candles that lit my words.
I wondered why it took a lack of something to make that happen – the fire could be lit any night, the candles and matches are always there. I’ve lived with my partner for many years; we’ve had plenty of time to talk.
Today I realised it’s because we had a night off from reality, a night to experience a different way of life.
I will not say I enjoyed every moment – it had been snowing, and it was cold. It got dark very quickly; there were phone calls to find out what was happening, check in with neighbours, to generally share our predicament. But it was peaceful. There was very little noise – even the machines used to dig up the road were unobtrusive – just voices, and the fire, and ourselves. There was no rush – there was nothing we could do. There was laughter.
I think from now on, I’m nominating Tuesdays as our quiet nights. A fire, some candles, some games and peace. I might not write each time, but I’ll have moments to write about.
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