Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Day Simplicity

(Courtesy of
Here on the East Coast, we are once more in the midst of a blizzard, even as we still valiantly (if unenthusiastically) attempt to dig out from the massive amounts of snow already on the ground.

In the few weeks since I last posted, we've had three storms and roughly three feet of snow (or more? I've lost track).  At this point, exiting driveways and certain roadways is an act of faith, what with the inability to see any possible oncoming traffic past the mountains of snow drifts.  Accelerate and pray...

Of course, this is New England; snow and blizzards and lousy driving conditions are a given, as are occasional power outages. During one of these recent storms, a tree limb came down onto our power lines, leaving us in the dark for nearly 11 hours. With no electricity, a long, dull day seemed to 
loom ahead.

But as the day went on, and my initial antsy annoyance at being cut off from computers, phones and appliances waned a bit, I found myself beginning to appreciate it.  We all gathered around the fireplace, rather than spread out with our various individual activities. We played board games, which we somehow rarely find time for these days.  We read by candlelight.  And we talked. And actually took the time to enjoy one another's company for a change. 

And what I noticed most as I sat by the fire, reading by the light of a couple of candles, was the quiet. 
No television, no constant electrical hum in the air. 
It was...peaceful. 
And surprisingly comfortable.

I won't say I wasn't happy when the power came back, but while it lasted, it really wasn't so bad.  It made me feel less stressed, somehow.  As if I were living in another time, back when there was no electricity and no modern conveniences, and most evenings were necessarily spent in quiet activity near the fire, the only source of warmth and light.

I've often wondered if I am enamored of historical romances in large part because of the depiction of those simpler times.  I enjoy contemporary novels as well, but not nearly as much as those that manage to bring to life the days when there were no modern conveniences or affectations.  There is something calming and intriguing about the thought of a life without the noise and madness we all just accept as necessary these days. 

As wonderful as our daily conveniences may be, there is a trade-off involved; we've given up much of the calm, peaceful quality of life that used to exist in a less modernized world.   And though I know I wouldn't want to be cut off from all of it forever, having that unexpected day of true simplicity wasn't merely tolerable, but actually rather nice.  And I'm sure that the next time the power goes out, I won't grumble.  Instead, I'll just let myself bask in the peace.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in the 18th or 19th century?
Would having to wear a tightly-laced corset be a deal breaker, or would you love to dress in the frilly fashions of another time?
What would be the worst thing about it?  The best?
For me, I think the lack of running water would likely send me screaming into the night eventually, but how about you?

1 comment:

  1. I could live without the running water if I was in a position to have a bit of help carrying it all. I've done it before when I was young and our underground spring fed well would dry up for a few days after a couple weeks of no rain. It still got water in the well, but not enough to pump into the house. I could happily live with the corsets. Who doesn't want that hourglass figure? I'm not so sure I could live without the antibiotics though. After all, honey doesn't work for everything. ;o)