Sometimes it takes a small crisis to make you appreciate the simpler things in life. Thursday of last week, our little town of St-Gabriel-de-Valcartier was hit by a heavy snowfall. It wasn’t really the quantity of snow that was heavy, although it was nothing to sneeze at, but it was the actual cumulative weight of the wet flakes which caused the problems.
One of the advantages of living in our area is the abundance of large beautiful trees, but when the branches of those trees are weighed down by snow, they cause havoc with the electrical wires, and that’s exactly what happened. At 7:00 a.m. Thursday morning, most of the municipality lost its electrical power. Hydro-Quebec called in reinforcements from other cities to help with the problem which affected tens of thousands of homes in the region.
Off and on during that first day, power would be restored to some homes and not to others. Our own place was 13 hours without power on Thursday. It came back on for four hours, only to go off and remain off for another 37 hours, until Saturday afternoon.
Yes, it got a little cold in the house, and yes, I was concerned for the food in our fridge and freezer, but I think the benefits I reaped were more plentiful than the inconveniences.
First of all, Brianna, our nineteen-year-old, went shopping with me on the Friday evening, to make a dent in our Christmas shopping, and a good dent we made. When we got home, we dressed in our warmest pyjamas while my husband built a fire in the fireplace. Soon, Brianna and I were cuddled up on the sofa in front of the fire, looking through cookbooks and planning some Christmas baking. And, we each grabbed a sofa and slept there through the night.
The next morning, we couldn’t waste time on electronics. We couldn’t vacuum, or do laundry, or cook. So, we decorated the Christmas tree and the rest of the house. We wrapped presents, and we joked and we planned. In other words, we spent quality time together, doing things which would have been lost in all the usual weekend rush to do the jobs we can’t do during the week. There was time enough to take care of that later on.
I couldn’t help but be a little thankful for Mother Nature’s decision to leave us in the dark for a little while. But, I was also thankful for the work by Hydro Quebec to restore the electricity which we depend on to keep us warm and safe. Also, I can’t forget to thank the volunteer firefighters, two of whom live in my house, who were called out twenty times over the course of those three days.