What do you read in the dark?

On Monday, January 26th, freezing rain began here in Northwest Arkansas.  By Tuesday afternoon, sleet and snow were mixed in.  Trees and power poles snapped. Cell towers went down, some radio stations were off the air.  Our ISP went down, the area newspaper plant lost power.  There was no mail delivery, no newspaper.  Many lost phone service.  We had two inches of ice or more all over the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks.

Here in Spring Hollow we heard only birds, cracks as limbs broke, the neighborhood dog pack barking–and a neighbor’s generator.

When John and I built our original two-room cabin (see DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow), we installed a small wood stove in the kitchen, and now it saved us.  We moved into the kitchen with our house plants.  (In the 2007 ice storm here several of my plants died from the cold.)  We could keep temperatures at 60 degrees in the kitchen.

I cooked on the wood stove, using as much of our thawing food as I dared.  (Ironically, by Wednesday it was too warm outside during the day to keep food safely frozen.)  Then we went to canned goods.

I learned I could fry pop-tube cinnamon rolls. (Allowing them to rise on the back of the wood stove first.)

We slept under piles of quilts.  We read by daylight, candlelight, flashlight. We listened to recorded books.  Rex Stout (DEATH TIMES THREE) and the Winnie the Pooh series, a light touch in trying times.  Since I am a writer, I assured myself I was working by reading Jeffrey Marks’s INTENT TO SELL, and Chris Roerden’s DON’T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY. I edited a manuscript and wrote on a legal pad.

Slowly, things came back.  By the weekend, with caution, we could get out in the car, so we went to the library twenty miles away and used their Internet connection.  We ate at McDonald’s.  We saw the broken, surviving, world.

On Tuesday, February 3, we had power.  Today, Thursday, we are beginning to re-enter the 2009 world. There is still ice on the shaded part of our driveway and lane, but major roads are clear.

While power was off and our ISP was down, we lost many e-mails somewhere “out there.”  If you wrote during that time, please write again.  It’s nice talking with friends.

I miss the peace, which was the bonus from all this.

Radine, who can now find things easily in the dark and thinks heated rooms feel HOT!


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One Response to “What do you read in the dark?”

  1. David A. Todd Says:


    Our neck of Bella Vista didn’t lose power; I did lose two days of work, however. Spent the time productively on a work-in-progress and catching up on sleep.

    I’m going to skip Spavinaw Writers tonight. Too much to do.

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