Friday, December 2, 2016


Now that the wintry specter of December has arrived, it gets dark incredibly early. Here in the mountainous midst of nowhere, the feeble sun sinks quickly behind trees and hilly shadows rudely snuff the light. Darkness threatens by 3:30 p.m.

A mild rain kept the temperatures up for awhile. Then the rain clouds cleared at sunset two days ago. I went out on the front porch to take some photos. The temperature was dropping rapidly and it would be a frigid night.

When I stepped back inside the power was out. Again. The wind probably had something to do with the outage this time. It was whistling through treetops and wailing around the corners of the house. 

No power meant no heat. No cooking. My laptop has a battery, of course, but I wasn't in the mood to mess with it. 
The oil lamps had no oil.
Kerosene isn't exactly foremost on my supply list when I drive the 2,000 miles into town to get groceries.
Slight exaggeration. It's probably only 200....
(do I receive penalties for slight exaggerations??)

I grabbed a flashlight, candles and matches, and a transistor radio that only dares to pick up one or two stations.

I captured the last golden glow of light which dramatically illuminated the windows.

I then watched the light fade to nothing
from my bedroom window. With the darkness came the bone-rattling chill. As the dark hours dragged on it became incredibly cold.

 my bedroom window

There wasn't much to do but stumble around and shiver uncontrollably, so I crawled into bed.
I left the window shade up so I could gaze out at the incredible blackness and the brilliant shimmer of stars.

The night is mercilessly dark here and infinitely lonely. Actually I'm used to this isolation and I love it. Despite the inconvenience of no power, it lends me time to think.

Silence and darkness embellished with thought. 

The wind finally dwindled and ceased. The silence seemed to thicken on this night. No coyotes, no wild dogs, no owls.

Bosco got under the covers with me as usual. Furry and heavy, with extra warmth that is welcomed. He has a slight but perpetual nasal problem and snores when he sleeps. But I'm used to it.

Trust me, I've had many bed partners who were much more annoying than Bosco...
...but that's another story for another time. 

Just to ensure that the end of this tale is a happy one - - the power went back on before dawn.


Ever since the new UNWANTED changes on Blogger (including the disappearance of the old "dashboard") I have been having trouble accessing blogs and finding your recent posts. I'm forced to go on unwanted scavenger hunts.

Just wanted you to know that if I haven't visited your blog lately, I still love ya.... 
...well, all except for you rude Bozos who abandoned me because you hated my anti-Hillary Clinton posts.
(should I insert a grim *smile* here?)  



  1. 200 miles to town!? Are you sure the movers just couldn't find your place? You should apply for the Mars settlement project. The bedroom sunset photo was spectacular.

    1. I should probably receive a few lashes for exaggerations. It's only about thirty miles to town - but it sure as hell seems like 200....or 2000...

  2. Your photos are amazing, yes ... but it's your words that draw me in. This time of year I fully come alive; I embrace the early darkness, the chill. (Of course, I live in Arizona, so why not?)

    So far, I've resisted turning on our heat. Heaven to me is a chilly environment, witnessed from beneath a nest of thick quilts.

    1. I try to use the heat as seldom as possible (honest) but this is the COLDEST house I ever lived's like being in an air-conditioned igloo.

      I do like the early darkness and long nights - as long as the power stays on.

  3. Morning Jon. Those conditions made for a sensationally vivid photo shoot. What struck me though was the "no oil for the oil lamps". Did you not bring your Earthquake Preparedness habits with you from Southern California? I brought them back with me to UK. I suspect you are not a typical Tennessee mountain dweller. MaggieB

  4. Actually, I have never been sufficiently prepared for anything - - which accounts for the chaos that so often infiltrates my life. I have definitely put lamp oil on my list, and will buy it during my next excursion to town.

  5. Power went out here couple nights ago and I worried about the pump not drawing water for morning coffee. Then I went outside at 3 a.m. and felt the darkness, heard 2 owls hooting and went happily to bed knowing some things in life and thought are perfected in darkness --but 1st telephoned the utility's 24 hr. hotline because, well, coffee's really important.

  6. It's difficult to get through the darkness without the benefit of morning coffee.
    Unfortunately, the local 24 hr. utility hotline here in TN only answers the phone about seven hours a day....and never during power outages.

  7. Your wood pictures never cease to amaze me and the picture of Bosco is a beautiful one. Though a bit traumatized looking? Regardless adorable! Last weekend my power went out due to high winds. I too had a very small radio that takes two AA batteries. I'm amazed at how many fm/am stations it gets. I got it for the ex as a,stocking stuffer one year. He never used it so I kept it when we split. The best $14 I spent.

    1. Bosco is a super-sensitive cat. The smallest noise can intimidate him. In this photo, he saw the camera and was probably worried that I might be preparing to shoot him.

      My small two-battery radios work extremely well in populated areas. Unfortunately, out here in the boonies I can't pick up anything at all (I'm not talking about sailors, I'm talking radio stations....)

  8. Replies
    1. In an emergency I can always burn trees and eat the cats.

  9. Another good read. But the nearest shop is fucking miles away. How do you live life like that?

    1. The thing I hate the most about living here is the long, dangerous drive into town. It's always a nightmare.

  10. Jon,
    A blog written in prose and beautiful, haunting photos of night descending on you sylvan home. Visiting your blog is always fun, interesting and provocative. By the way, I don't know what was "improved" by the recent update to Blogger. I'm also having difficulty navigating around the new format. If and when you find the "improvement", let me know. I'm curious.

    1. Nobody has ever told me my blog is fun - - thanks for that, Ron. It's a shame that Blogger didn't leave good enough alone. The old dashboard was very convenient and easy to use. Now, it seems like I am eternally hunting for everything. I hate it!

  11. I've been having troubles leaving comments sometimes lately. It says I can't leave a comment because I follow by email. But I follow all my bloggers by email and there's only been a couple that won't let me comment (knock on wood).

    It's different being in the dark in the country. Completely black except for moon and stars--and you won't see anything on a cloudy night--LOL! Glad your power came on again by morning and that you have a bed-warmer--even if it snores a little. ;)

    1. I've been having trouble leaving comments on some blogs, too. And other annoying things keep happening. Occasionally my photos will mysteriously disappear - and also things on my sidebar.

      Being in a rural area during a power outage gives a whole new meaning to "darkness". Fortunately, the power is USUALLY restored fairly quickly.

  12. I must say it again, Jon - your camera takes fantastic pictures. I could seriously frame either the first or second one. It almost appears as if the hills are on fire.

    Power outages during cold weather are especially miserable. A wood stove is a convenient backup.

    Bosco is a beautiful cat with those piercing green eyes !

    1. My camera is an old Kodak Easy Share - it's at least ten years old, but I really like it.
      I would really like to get a wood stove - I certainly need it out here in the wilds. In Texas I had a fireplace and I really miss it!

      I had Bosco ever since he was born. He was such a tiny, frail, extremely sick kitten that I never thought he'd survive. He's now nearly three years old - - I'm astonished at how big and heavy he is! He has a very gentle, sweet temperament.

  13. I want to read about the strange bed partners... but not every detail, if you know what I mean. :D

    1. Donna, I'm shocked....but inspired. You're going to love my memoirs. Yea, I know - I've been promising my memoirs for years, but they will be finished soon. Or soon enough.

      On a happy note - I was in a foul mood this morning, but your comment gave me the first smile of the day. Thanks!


I love comments. Go ahead and leave one - I won't bite. But make sure you have a rabies shot just in case.