The wind and rain storm of Oct. 29-30 gave thousands of Mainers a new perspective on what it means to “be in the dark.” Whether you own a generator or not, events of this roughly 24-hour period altered routines, anywhere from a few hours to several days. Downed trees and wires made travel difficult or impossible.

School and work schedules were interrupted. Stores that were open accepted only cash for purchases, due to the inaccessibility of electronic systems. Clerks had to remember how to count back change! Gas stations were briefly unable to pump gas.

If you owned a chainsaw, you were immediately the most popular person in your neighborhood, a veritable rock star. There will be no shortage of firewood this winter.

I do not own a generator, and during the six days that I waited for power to be restored in my corner of the world, I gained a heightened appreciation for many things, among them:


Flashlights, oil lamps and L.L. Bean solar lanterns.

Battery-operated radios.

The propane-fueled “woodstove” in my family room, which provided heat and a makeshift cooking surface.

Town water and sewer, which assured a continuous supply of drinking water and the ability to flush a toilet.

The peace, quiet and simplicity of being off the grid.

The convenience of being on the grid.

Landlines and cellphones.


Reading a book by flashlight, something I hadn’t done since I was a kid.

Peanut butter sandwiches as a main course.


Good friends who had electricity and hot water for showers

Central Maine Power crews as superheroes.

In our daily lives, we take so much for granted, just expecting it to be there when we need or want it. We’ve watched on TV or the internet the devastation that took place in our Southern states, in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean following the hurricanes, and we now have gotten just a tiny taste of the hardships that people there will continue to experience well into the future. Perhaps most importantly, we’ve had time to ponder how very fragile the systems that support us really are in the face of nature’s fury.

The daily routine in Maine is pretty much back to normal now, and we will spend the next several days sharing with each other our stories about the October Storm. Was it inconvenient? Yes. A reality check? Definitely!