Monday, February 7, 2011

Ice and Fire

Many people experienced last week as a blur of ice and snow. Dayton Ohio, alone, had 70,000 people without power at one time, due to Tueday and Wednesday's battering of ice. As I look back on Tuesday night, I realize now that I was taking for granted that the power outage was going to resolve itself the way it usually does, maybe a couple hours. I was still in lala land, and enjoyed looking out the window at the glistening trees in my back yard.   The wind was blowing little shards of ice through the air. There was something lovely about no sounds (no furnace blowing, no refrigerater humming, no tv chatter) other than that of icy rain playing its relentless little song on all the windows.

We awoke on Wednesday morning, still without power. The house was a little chilly by then. Still thinking it might be short-lived (and not having a tv to tell us all about it), we turned on the gas fireplace, pulled the big couch right in front, and stayed under the covers for the rest of the morning. My husband and I both work from home for the most part, so the little break was kind of nice. The cats piled up on top of us and we napped away the morning. 

A couple of phone calls from friends who did have power and access to info, pretty much convinced us that it might be a while. We had plenty of invitations to stay with others, and I guess we could have gone to the Marriott just down the road. But every time we visited the idea, we knew we were supposed to stay put and be with whatever the moment brought. We heated water for tea in the fireplace, pulled out the iron skillet and made some hot lunch, ate as many ice cream bars we could before they melted. It was a weird couple of days and it was Friday afternoon before the power was restored. In that time, I really didn't do much of anything. It was too cold to get off the couch for very long. It was a very strange and wonderful experience to just BE. There was really nothing else to do. I was taking my cue from my cats, as all animals pretty much know how to just be. Humans tend to live life with the "doing power" always on... doing and doing, reminding ourselves to stop and breathe once in a while. This was a real exercise in just being. I was surprised how natural the experience was. When my hands weren't too cold, I tangled another tile:

I didn't have a conscious idea about this when it began. I just kept layering one loop behind the others. The grid only came about as a filler for the open space. As it was done,  I guess I could interpret it as a tangle of power lines imposed on a city's electrical grid. One thing I was aware of as I tangled this, was that you can't always take one situation and simply lay it on top of another. If you look at the Knightsbridge grid, it's not a straight grid that lies underneath the spirals. Each space, even though connected, is carrying the shape of the open (or negative) space created by the spirals. That's what i realized in the storm: Just because I'm in a familiar place (my own house), everything about being in that house and doing things in it had changed for the week: eating, sleeping, showering, sitting... everything. Each day brought a new question about how we were going to be with this unfamiliar situation in such a familiar place. Sort of like a Zentangle: each space and each mark requires a new response. It's so easy in our daily lives to go along, knowing what is coming next in our own spaces, in our own routines. Take that all away, and it's a lot of fun to marry together what we think we know, with what we don't know at all.

I am eternally grateful for last week. No misery, no real disturbance. Just a different way of being with everything around me. Now, to me, there's not much more fun in the world than that:)


  1. Having had pretty much the same experience in 1998 I really enjoyed and appreciated your comments and insights. Those rare opportunities to do nothing, because there really is nothing TO do, should be treasured, not resented. Of course, they rarely last a week!
    Oh, and VERY lovely tiles by the way.

  2. Beautiful tiles, but even more interesting is the conditions under which they were made. It is wonderful how you were able to just live in the moment and were really blessed by it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a wonderful post and tiles! I love that you were able to just "be" in the situation that you had no control over. I love finding calm in the midst of a snow or ice storm!

  4. That day turned out to be a gift! I enjoyed your post and tangles.

  5. Carole you have created a special way to remember a time locked down with comfort while the world whirls around in the cold outside. I agree with you, when the power goes off because of a thunder storm its a wonderful time to just stop and view the outside from in!

  6. What a testament to the Zen "Be Here Now," not fighting the flow of what's happening around us. I loved reading your post... and those ZTs are beautiful!! The first one reminds me of the ice crystals on Rick & Maria's window that Rick photographed. =)

  7. I really enjoyed your post! Your tangles certainly capture the mood of ice and being without electric. TFS!

  8. wonderful perspective to just being.....and you're a lovely writer.....


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