I remember when I was a child. Storms would pass through. We would huddle together at my grandmother's house. The lights went out..and somehow, when the noise ceased..the house came alive. I found it exciting to be immersed in candlelight. I loved the shadows they made on people's faces and the way the wall became a screen for a puppet show. The wall that had been there all along, now served a new a different purpose. - to make smiles through the motioning and moving of hands.
I loved how we all congreated during bad weather. I loved the sound of the rain and how we would try to calculate how far away the thunder was... I loved how we made sandwiches. We used Miracle Whip back then. I loved how we would have to keep the door of the refridgerator closed so the cold didn't run out..
I remember my aunt donna and uncle toby wrestling on the floor..play fighting..and then they would include me in their horseplay. I vaguely remember the sound of my own laughter.
I loved it when the lights went out..there was no time for busy...there was just us and the wind....and our prayers that a tornado wouldn't suck us into the sky.
Another time..the lights went out, I was probably in fourth grade. A friend of mine had stayed over for a sleepover. We made my closet a hideout. We grabbed flashlights and read books. Even after the lights had come back on..we still kept them off...there was mystery in the dark closet, in the stillness, in the pages of those books.
Even at school, when the lights would go out. We would huddle..hundreds of children in the darkness of the gym. The school came alive when the power went out. It meant we would not have to do our work. It was a small experience that we all shared and seemed to love.
I am learning to appreciate the quiet, still peaceful moments. Right now, I am fighting the urge to turn off the lights, light a candle, and just breathe. No sound of white noise..no television voices churning in the background.
I wonder if families would get along better if, even for one night a week, or even a month, we simply cut off the electricity. Throw the breaker box in the off position and remember the things that truly matter. If we would invest more time in simple puppet shows and horseplay...and making sandwiches...and the really small important things.
having the lights off, brings people together.
a quick afterthought...
One thing that stood out about Times Square is the lights. Even in the darkness, that patch of the world still shone like daylight. At one point, I had to ask the time, because I couldn't tell if it was dusk or if the lights were so bright that the sky couldn't tell where the night started and the lights ended. It was that bright.
I wonder what would happen if the lights would go out in New York? Maybe all the pushing and busynesss of Times Square would cease...and people would slow down and share in some small and beautiful moment.
Slow down, peeps..