Monday, August 4, 2014


Cloud Whispers
Emerging Sand Bars
Brown Bird Among Browning Summer
Might Not Be Much
Looking More Ominous
Electric Pink
Blowing Dirt
And It Rains
Woman Has Grill  & Broken Truck. She Will Survive.
Clouds pile behind the Elmira Pond ridge. I hesitate, check the weather on my phone which tells me it's sunny and continue to load briquets into the chimney. I'll be grilling a marinaded chicken breast and baking a foil-wrapped Idaho potato.

Lately, only wispy clouds have whispered across blue skies. It's bone dry. The grass is crisp and the dirt like powder. The mares crop the grass low and drink from a shrinking pond. Sand bars emerge like tiny bald islands. Blackbirds  hawk for grasshoppers the color of desert.

Coals glow as the first splat of rain starts. The clouds have thickened and pop charges of lightning like teenagers popping firecrackers. Grabbing my potato I go inside.

The air doesn't cool. I wonder if the clouds are going to rain or just sweat over Elmira Pond. As the sun retreats the sky turns an electrified pink. My potato bakes in the oven.

As the rain cuts loose in a drenching sheet, the lights flicker...once...twice...out. The oven fan whines to a stop and overhead fans slow. I watch the rain and the pink. And wait. At 30 minutes I call in the outage to Northern Lights and notice my phone battery is low.

Groan...let me groan again...groan.

Just how unprepared can I be? Well, dinner is half-baked and I can't recharge my phone. It's an evening for Kindle and candlelight, though my tummy rumbles for that potato and chicken. Despite the rain, the coals are still hot so back on the grill goes the potato!


No electricity. Without the fans the house didn't cool and I'm hot. I can't flush the toilets because my well works on an electrical pump. I power up my phone which is now at 10 percent battery. I call Northern Lights.

Recorded messages is grim: due to severe storms, power outages will be two days.

Two days?! Just how unprepared can I be? I have no potable water, no back up for my refrigerated food and I'm a cook! I only have food that requires cooking...okay, I have a grill. I'll grill meat as the freezer melts. I can caveman it for two days. Suddenly, I feel thirsty.

Like someone on a deserted island writing out her last thoughts, I pen a plan. With remaining battery I'll call the Geologist and Radio Geek. I need updates. I "might" be able to fix the Blue Goose and make it to Samuels for gas, water, a meal and a charge for my phone. But not if they're closed due to the outage.

Okay. I got this. My mouth is dry. I power up the phone and call. No answer. Okay. Call Todd in Boise. Tell him it's not an emergency; not like he has to drive 400 miles to deliver water, but he can look up statuses, too.

With my final blip of battery, I receive my final text from the outside world..."Dispatch will bring water."

What? You mean the same dispatch I couldn't convince that there were two fires in Elmira, not one? The same dispatch I thought about calling to report obnoxious birds at 2 a.m.? I'm not hopeful. No one comes. It's silent as I eat my second grilled steak. Not even the trains run.

Then, a whirring noise, the sound of a miracle--24 hours after the lights flickered, they beam with blessed electricity!

My phone has a message from dispatch: Call us if you need assistance. Uh-huh. Thanks, dispatch, glad you understood my phone was dead I mumble as I draw a deep drink of cold water from the well.


  1. Wow - one complication piled on the next... until nothing works. Glad your electricity has returned. Keep that phone battery charged now!

    PS: your new grill has now become a very handy item!

    1. Very grateful for that grill! I'm looking into getting a back-up battery and storing water. I was just very unprepared.

  2. What a sequence of unfortunate events! Glad you survived to tell the tall. I really enjoyed the imagery in this piece of writing - and the images. Beautiful, even if the events weren't so!