It’s ubiquitous. It shapes our lives with what it can do, and how we create it. And it’s so commonplace, you never really think about it… until it’s not there. But you don’t really miss it, exactly. You miss what you don’t have because of its absence; lights, microwave, refrigerator and freezer, running water, internet.
We were without power at the house until yesterday evening. Couldn’t take a shower, couldn’t cook anything because even though the stove is propane, the spark is electric – no more pilot lights – and the gas isn’t permitted to flow without the spark. Like the winter storm a couple years back; the electricity was out for almost forty hours.
Don’t misunderstand; our electric company works hard and long hours to restore power to all of us when a storm roars through. They are an amazing crew of people, unsung heroes who are out in any and all weathers, making sure the lines are clear and connected.
When was the last time you thought about where the idea for household electricity originally came from? Just about everyone knows the story about Ben Franklin and the kite. Doubtful it happened the way people think; he’d have been killed if lightning had actually struck the metal key. There’s a hidden danger to electricity.
This morning, I was bent over the camera. I had it secured to the tripod and was just making sure that the rain sleeve was properly in place, when lightning flashed directly overhead. And I do mean directly overhead. Right above the Bluff.
Let me tell you, in a moment like that it does not matter that you know inside your head that by the time you see the flash, you’re far too late to get clear if lightning is going to strike. It doesn’t matter that you know that you should have felt the prickling of skin and hair as your body reacts to the sudden increase of potential in the air. All you’re going to do is react before you can properly think, and then wait for your mind to catch up.
When that sudden danger flashed overhead, I hit the ground. Flattened myself right down in the wet grass and the mud and just froze, counting without quite realizing what I was doing or why. I’d reached four by the time I heard the thunder – and it was deafening.
Took me a minute or so to stand back up; I kept thinking about how exposed I was, with hardly anything around that was taller and could draw the lightning away if it decided to strike the ground.
Kind of hard to aim and focus a camera on a tripod from the ground, though.