There was that ominous prelude yesterday, mid-afternoon, when the storm clouds rolled in, one after the other, angry and thick and imminent.

And then there was a single, explosive crack of thunder that made me jump right up out of my chair, grab my phone and head to the front porch, where I stood, heart thumping, waiting.


I wanted to collect footage of the moisture and the deep green darkness that blanketed our street—enveloped as we always are by the canopy of tall trees—to send to Christian, who presently lives in a place where nature mostly manifests itself as absence.


And then the sky and everything in the moment seemed to stand still, and in the dark of the charcoal clouds, there was a such a hush, a void of sound, and the most ominous stillness I’ve ever felt outside of a cinema. Like nature sucking in her breath.

And then, the first rain sounds: like rice confetti, then like shelling. And the wind picked up, fierce and angry. I also made out the sounds of an airplane taking off from Dorval (what must that have been like?). It seemed to be groaning, labouring to climb up above the electrically charged cloak of storm clouds.


And I shot short bursts of video that would soon travel to Christian, thanks to a Messenger that’s quick as lightning, and immerse him in WEATHER: green, lush, swishing, howling, rumbling, wet and windy.

And then, around 3pm, the power went out, just as I was finishing. It stayed out till some time during the night. And whatever plans I had or Sylvain had for the rest of the day were snuffed out.

McGinn, Martin; Well; Rugby Art Gallery and Museum Art Collections; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/well-54817
Reading by candlelight, last evening.

Sensing this could be a long outage, we decided to resist opening the fridge for any reason (and them, immediately began craving drinks with ice!). We ended up  going out to eat fast food slowly, delaying powerlessness as long as we could, until finally, we headed home. Out came the candles, which I stacked onto TV tables, placed strategically beside the sofa Sylvain occupied and the armchair I’d settled in, and there we remained, with our books and enough light to lose ourselves in them, quietly, till our eyelids got heavy.

Reading by candlelight, last evening.

4 thoughts on “POWERLESS

  1. Philip is in Montreal, flying out in a bit after four long days of business meetings. He mentioned the storm. Power outages. And here we are in Vancouver, on another beautiful, very warm and sunny day and wanting rain to come to finally extinguish the fires and allow those fighting them and those who had been displaced this summer because of the fires and smoke, to finally go home to their loved ones. Weather. It changes everything. Our moods, our landscapes, our summers, our experience of home and of daily life. Thanks for sharing.


  2. One more thing comes to mind, related to the title of your piece. I have rarely experienced a power outage here and so when one occurs, I do feel powerless as all plans go out the window and we have to adapt to life without electricity and our dependency on it. And yet there is something about the silence and calm and stillness that are part and parcel of the experience when there’s no television, no hum of the fridge.


  3. Apologies for posting an unfinished comment. Typing fast and furiously on an iPhone and alas cannot find a delete feature on this site.

    “And yet there is something about the silence and calm and stillness that are part and parcel of the experience. When there’s no television, or hum of the fridge. Life suddenly on mute. And darkness, save for the soft light of candles placed here and there, enough to see, read but not set the house on fire. Hope the power comes back on soon. But until then, enjoy this unexpected break from evening routines.


  4. Thanks Marie. We were lucky, the power came back overnight. I wrote this the next morning, of course. It seems like some people in Montreal were subjected to micro- bursts of extreme winds and rain. NDG was hit badly. Huge old trees snapped right down the centre or were simply uprooted. Their trunks and giant branches came crashing onto cars and through roofs. Huge damage in a tiny area.
    (Madeleine and Dominique had one of theirs smash onto their roof and shatter the skylight, letting rain pour down into the house)

    I love the trees and I love the wind, but when the latter becomes wild and furious, it can be terrifying.
    For Sylvain and I, in the storm’s wake, it was just a very quiet evening,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.