When the lights don’t come back after an hour, I start to grow anxious, imagining the worst (it appears prolonged blackouts have had that effect on me since 2003). And then there are reports of flooding in Toronto, which make me doubly anxious after the terrible floods last month in southern Alberta, including my former home, Calgary.
I’m at my parents’ house, which means an abundance of flashlights and candles. We fill up jugs of water. We turn off our cell phones. As the time drags on, I can’t help constantly listening to the small battery-powered radio, and I’m reminded of 2003, people gathered around radios in the parks, the newscasters sounding nervous and uncertain.
My dog and I go out and walk through the drizzle. The world is going dark in a soft way I never normally see, not even in the suburbs. Aside from that, it all seems the same. The same stillness. In Toronto, there are people stranded in a flooded train, but here everything feels just fine.
When I return, my mother is still doing crosswords by candlelight. My father is sitting on the back steps, looking at fireflies flashing just above the grass. A neighbour is playing guitar and his fingers squeak along the strings. It gets even darker, even quieter, but we have it pretty good.