Turning off the lights
I delved a little further into the world of solitude and silence on the weekend. I spent much of Saturday morning going through old papers and cleaning up my work room. Late morning I had a brief visit from Ernie and Jenny, a phone call from Shane and then Hanno. Silence followed. I finished cleaning and reorganising my workroom with the window open so I could clearly hear the sound of the rain and wind outside.
At around 2pm on Saturday I decided to have an electricity-free afternoon and evening. I'm really suited to this style of living because I go to bed early, get up early and now we're moving towards summer, I'm in bed when it's dark. So I organised candles for the evening and the morning and found some knitting I could do in low light. Next was my evening meal - I wanted something that required no electricity. I had a small bowl of leftover pasta in the fridge and I ended up adding celery, corn, capsicum, herbs and a small can of red salmon. I had that will a glass of water and a slice of watermelon. I ate in silence looking out into the fading light of the backyard.
When I had the meal and lighting organised, I decided that I would disconnect my laptop from the cable and only use it on the battery. If the battery ran out, that would be it. I'm using the battery power now as I write this at 7pm. If this turns out to be a short post, you'll know why, but I'm hoping it will stay with me until I take photos and upload them. Soon I'll go outside to look at the stars and then, by candlelight, I'll write, in longhand, an outline for a series of talks I'll be giving at the local libraries next year.
[Monday morning] It's a fine thing to withdraw from the electrified world every so often. You cut yourself off from light and the sound of TV and radio, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, electric beaters, fans and so many other things we take for granted. You become more aware of the natural movements outside, of the birds and the amount of light coming into the house. You become very aware of yourself too. There are no distractions, no noise to mask the swishing of a skirt, the scratching of a fountain pen on paper, or breathing. We are all so used to electricity now we forget that it the ability to brightly light our homes came to us relatively recently. In 1904 the first domestic electricity was generated in Sydney and by 1927, only 34 percent of homes had some form of electricity. Now, most of us, are dependent on electric lighting and while I wouldn't like to live without electricity, I could live without lights. I love coming back to candles and lamps every so often. I last did this when Hanno was in Germany two year ago. Have you stopped yourself using electricity just because you could?