Sunday, July 29, 2012

Could you live without electricity like the Amish?

I’ve always wondered if I could live without electricity, like the Amish. Well, we lost our power for three days due to a thunderstorm: three long days. Yes, the days seemed lengthened without electricity. Time slowed down…as well as my mind.

After we got batteries for our flashlights, candles, etc. Tim and I looked at each other? Now what? But our son and daughter-in-law soon knocked on the back door, asking how we were (they live in back of us). We soon started chatting longer than usual. It reminded me of the Walton’s, and it was simply charming.
After an hour, they went back to their place. Tim and I read a lot at night, but we looked at each other: Our Kindles are dead! Did we have to read the old-fashioned way? Turning pages in a book is so….cumbersome. But I got out my Jan Karon book I’d been meaning to read, and by candlelight started  In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel . Karon helps us celebrate the simple things in life, so the book starts out with Father Tim and his wife Cynthia arriving at an inn in Ireland, and the power is off due to a storm. How ironic! They read by candlelight and talked into the night, relishing time together.

Karon always helps me see the charm in everyday life. So I looked for it over the next few days, as we lived without electricity. Without the distraction of the internet, (We don’t watch television, but I love watching things on YouTube or gabbing on Facebook) I closed my eyes to listen to the many birds at my birdfeeders. But I heard cows! I told my husband, and he said with a cocked eyebrow “There's cows down the road...” I’d never noticed them before. I see them all the time, but was thrilled to hear them moo. Then a rustling sound, a clanking. No way! I could always here the train whistle two miles away, but the boxcars? That was baffling because I love farm country and railroads, and to think that over the past 15 years I’d missed the sound of cows and the railroad. Tim said he hadn’t noticed how loud the crickets were. I hadn’t noticed them at all.

Over the next few nights, Tim and I lit all the candles we owned to make a brilliant light over our breakfast nook as we played 500 Rummy. Was it my imagination, or was it more fun? More romantic? (Tim had a winning streak, so I know for sure I need glasses…something else I noticed ;) And we talked, read Psalms out loud, talked about life. We were Father Tim and Cynthia.

We could have gone to stay at my sister’s place during this time, and I’m sure it would have been fun. But Tim and I lived “off-the-grid” for a reason. And it wasn’t to see if we could be like Marge and Joe in my fictional Amish Friends Knitting Circle Series No, we seriously needed to know if we could handle having a camp without electricity. We bought 15 acres of land in Smicksburg, PA, from an Amish friend, and hopefully next summer we’ll have a small cabin. These past three days helped us see that living without power makes time stand still, and who doesn’t want more time? We’ll be foregoing the electricity while at camp….and I really believe I could live without electricity like the Amish… as long as I had a place to charge my Kindle and laptop ;)



  1. The answer for me would be a big "no" mainly because I've grown-up with electricity my whole life. So its tough not to miss something that you have always had from the beginning! Richard

  2. The strange thing is when the electricity goes out at my house, like Karen, everyone comes out of their self-induced caves and actually talks and breaks out the card games and board games. Maybe, electricity isn't the problem. It seems to be the trend today to isolate ourselves with our gadgets. I say we should unplug once in awhile and enjoy people again.

  3. Hee--we went that first 3 days and played games, laughed in the heatwave, etc. But after day 5, the charm was gone! I think it'd be different if you were actually Amish, and well-equipped to deal with a life w/out electricity. For those not set up with stoves/non-electric ways to keep food fresh, it can be an oppressive burden. By day 10, we were rejoicing with the rest of our neighborhood when the power finally came back on! FANS! Grin.

  4. Richard, you crack me up! Erin, I agree...pull the plugs! Heather...10 DAYS WITH NO POWER? That would be hard since you're no set up to live off-the grid. Thanks for leaving comments ;)

  5. Karen sometimes I crack myself up,lol. Richard