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Talking it over: The Sound of silence

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It is amazing how loud silence can be and how blinding, darkness. Quiet and total darkness are pretty rare for most of us but when the electricity goes off in the middle of the night, you quickly realize how quiet and dark it can become.

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I literally heard the electricity go off early Sunday morning. My alarm clock next the the bed made a strange noise as well as the satelite dish receiver box in the bedroom. Both made a clunking sound and then there was total silence.

I opened my eyes to complete darkness. The night light that shines through the doorway to my bathroom was no longer lit. The light from the two clocks in my room were also off. It was literally pitch black in the room.

I got up and felt my way through the house to look out the window. The entire countryside was dark. After placing a call to the electric company, I decided it would be best to stay under the covers to keep warm and try to get some sleep.

Sleep eluded me however simply because it was too dark and too quiet. I found that there are a lot of noises going on in the house at night that I had gotten used too. The whirring sound from the receiver box was just one of them. I no longer heard the refrigerator kick in, the clocks ticking, the water softener or, worst of all, the furnace running. It was an eerie quiet as, instead, I listened to the wind whipping outside and snow and sleet hitting the windows. I also heard the cracks and groans of the house as it shifted ever so slightly in the cold and wind.

I also noticed that there must be a lot of small lights on during the night that we take for granted. There were no lights from the stove and microwave panels, no lights from the computer, dishwasher or the boxes for telephone lines. In fact, even the telephones throughout the house were dark. I had to guide my way to the cupboard where I kept flashlights using only the light from windows and skylights.

After coming on and going off three times, the electricity finally came on to stay about three hours later. It was getting pretty cold in the house but was also getting lighter outside as the sun was starting to rise. It ended up to be a long night watching and waiting for light, noise and heat. I was so relieved when the power returned and very thankful for the crew of people who ventured out in that cold and wind to bring it back to us.

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