At midnight, as I was heading to bed, I heard the sound of rifles popping from the backyard. A mans’ voice shouted outside. As I moved towards the window to look out, everything went dark, suddenly—and fast. The dog barked and bolted. I groped my way towards a flashlight in the kitchen. On the way, I banged my head on the bookshelf, cracked my knee into a wall and hit the edge of a table with my hip. Amazing how the lack of light, even in familiar surroundings can throw you off. All this, despite the fact I have a flashlight in EVERY room!!
So what gives? Aging. In my 20’s I only needed ONE flashlight and I never panicked when the lights went out as my eyes adjusted to darkness pretty well. By my 40’s, I bought a few more flashlights—just in case. However, now that I am in my 60’s it may well be that I need to attach something LED around my neck.
This aging stuff creeps up on you pretty slowly. Good thing. Can you imagine being 20 something and suddenly waking up one morning to a wrinkled face and gray hair?? That’s Kafka-esque enough to induce a stroke. Fortunately, our faculties disintegrate with a subtle slowness. So slow that we are lulled into a complacency of illusion; the illusion that things are as they once were.
But alas, they are not and all the wisdom in the world cannot make up for one, wrong stumble in the dark. So what do we do? Plant a flashlight every few feet. Unless you have hypermnesia, you might also want to light the way to them with night-lights. (Of course, those don’t help one bit when the power goes out!) This is an easy fix. Illuminating the mind is much trickier because it just plays tricks on you.
Those ‘shots’ in the dark that I heard? Turns out they were the snap, crackle pop of our transformer blowing out across the street. The mans’ voice? My neighbor yelling that his tree was on fire. A large limb from it had fallen hard onto the power lines. As my neighbors stumbled out into the blackness, amidst the blue, flashing lights of police cars and screaming sirens, one, older lady, wearing a bathrobe emerged holding a single, flickering candle. No, not me. . .yet.