Vital Signs

The Ice Storm

This morning, an icy December predawn, about 5:30, Oncor, our utility company, performed a miracle.  I’m not sure if anyone actually said, “Let there be light!”; but for a certainty, there was light—and heat—and it was good.  After more than 55 hours without electrical power, my wife and I, our three animals, and an array of tropical fish and plants were rescued from gray, wintertime darkness and room-temperature frigidity and well on the way back to creature comfort.  To say it was a relief is an understatement; to call it a miracle—well, that depends.

Compared with people who have been severely injured and horrifically devastated by severe natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, and flooding, this four-day spate of wintery weather and two-day power outage that completely but only temporarily paralyzed an eight- or nine-county area of north Texas hardly qualifies as a minor paper cut.  In spite of the inconvenience, the potential loss of food, and maybe some broken pipes, our main problem was frustration and boredom. We had little or no light to read by or to do other distracting things and were condemned to makeshift meals and living with our own personal funk for a couple of days; we were almost completely cut off from news and word of friends and family.

Our only access to the world, really, was via cellular devices, which rapidly...

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