At high noon, the gales got crazy and the lights went out. The power stayed off all day. Horrid visions danced before my eyes: a simple salad, for Christmas lunch, whilst a huge bird rotted in the warming fridge. I built a ridiculous hunter’s fire for warmth and listened to my dear old tranny, so at least I could hear the nine lessons and carols, even if they were distorted through a small battery-powered radio. I thought of the people who really do have no electricity. I thought of those ladies from centuries past, who had no choice but to be cold and read by candlelight. Goodness, they must have had resources.
I am ashamed to say I missed the internet. It was as if, out there in the world, there was a gaudy party, and I was not invited. I had had happy thoughts of spreading festive cheer amongst my Facebook and Twitter friends, of sending Christmas wishes to the Dear Readers. Now, I was stuck in a dark room with not enough candles and a flickering fire, reduced to silence de glace.
I squinted crossly at the book I was reading, its text barely illuminated by the gathered candles, and tried to count my blessings.
Then, my enchanting family came and rescued me, piled me into an old truck from the 1930’s, and drove me up to the one familial house which had light and warmth. There was hot food. They filled me with ham and parsley sauce and the best potatoes and the good claret.
As we drove home, we all shouted with delight. The lights were ON. We pointed and laughed, in amazement.
Some amazingly brave engineer has clambered up a greasy pole and put the cables back together again. The winds are still gusting at around fifty miles an hour, so I don’t know who did that, or what courage it took. I am eternally grateful. The dark is not as romantic as one might think.
The gales are supposed to fly north tomorrow, but they seem set in and determined, so I am not cavalier. The power may go again. There may yet be salad for Christmas lunch. But the lovely thing is that in this electric moment, I can say happy Christmas to all the Dear Readers, and put up the one photograph I really wanted to show you, which was taken in the big snow of last winter, and says everything about the mighty red mare and me. I love it, and I think it is very, very Christmassy. It is all about the love, which is the whole point of this season. I hope you are warm, and safe, and with your best beloveds.
If you are like me, you will have beloveds who are not with you. But I think now, as I miss my own dear departeds, that they are here too, folded into the living hearts left behind; remembered, marked, still loved.
They, like the extinguished lights, will shine again.
Happy, happy Christmas. May your day be merry, and bright.
And when I say bright, I mean literally and metaphorically.