It’s Sunday evening. I’m rushing to write this post. The inverter that converts the DC power from my new solar panel is humming beside me, charging my laptop. The computer is the only thing I’ll use the solar panel to power—at least for now.
No lights, no fridge, no stereo—nothing electric. The sun is setting. Soon there will be no light but the beeswax candles. I’m typing fast.
Last night was the click-over to darkness. We had about ten friends visiting to play charades. So much fun! Who needs TV? We served locally-grown popcorn and apples and filtered water (still on winter rations). The women played the men and it was a tie (unless you think that my friend Katy should have been disqualified for mouthing out the words she was trying to act).
Anyway, around 9:30, I threw the circuit breaker and we were all plunged us into darkness. We lit the candles and played on. We used beeswax because regular paraffin wax is made from oil, contributing to global warming.
The room’s energy changed in the light of the flames. We got quieter and more intimate. It felt like a pajama party. Something else: in the dark, everyone immediately began to feel sleepy. They soon went home.
This morning, we got dressed in the gloom of the bedroom, which faces an air shaft and has hardly any natural light. I felt grumpy. I could barely see myself in the mirror when I brushed my teeth. The pot in the pot fridge didn’t keep Isabella’s milk as cold as I’d like.
How will we clean without the vacuum cleaner? How much laundry stomping can I do? Ugh.
Michelle, on the other hand, doesn’t mind the darkness. She loves the honeycomb color of the candles. Funny, because I thought the coffee was no problem.
But my time for complaining has run out. The sun is setting. The light is dying. Our new life without electricity has begun.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.