By Treena Mielke Black Press
Another day in the life of me.
It is not quite 6 a.m. and I lay in my bed for a few moments, floating in that delicious transition zone that exists somewhere between sleep and wakefulness.
Thoughts about the day ahead flit about in my brain, like butterflies, or tiny dancers twirling about on a softly lit stage, as I slowly leave dreamland behind.
That’s when I feel it.
My bed. It’s shaking. I think it must be caused by the little lap dog that has come to live with us while his family is holidaying in Hawaii. I think the little dog must be scratching himself furiously causing the bed to shake and I mutter a reprimand.
“Marble, stop that.”
The shaking eventually stops and I swing my legs over the side of the bed, glaring at the dog.
I look at cell phone. It is 5:55.
My brain registers the need for coffee and I stumble out into the hallway and flick the light on. Nothing happens. I flick it again. Still nothing.
I keep testing the lights.
There is none.
Finally the realization hits me.
The power is out.
It is so weird when one has no power.
It’s almost like total confusion in your brain. Every thought is stymied before it can be put into action.
Turn the light on in the bathroom.
I stand in the middle of my house in the complete darkness, totally confused.
Not sure what to do next, I lay on the couch and pull a soft blanket over me and start texting people.
Do you have power? You? And how about you?
No one did.
My girlfriend said she was going to have a bath by candlelight, but then she couldn’t figure out how she could dry her hair. My own thoughts seemed to be fixated on coffee and how I could get some and then I remembered I couldn’t get my car out of the garage because the garage door opener wouldn’t work.
I pull the cover a little higher over myself and stare at nothing.
Finally, I light a coal oil lamp that I happen to own because I like old things and I like the lamp for a number of reasons, all of them purely sentimental. But, today, the lamp is a blessing and a necessity and, feeling like the lady with the lamp because I kind of was, I carried it with me to the bathroom, my closet and back to the living room.
One of my friends texts me I can use the manual garage door opener, but I resist, mostly because I don’t know how.
I decide to take my husband’s truck, that is parked outside the garage, instead, opting to stop for coffee at a little restaurant on the east end of town that miraculously had power.
“Do you have power?” the owner asked me. “No,” I said, not wanting conversation, only coffee. I desperately eye the coffee pot in her hand.
“Everyone’s power was out,” she announced cheerfully. “It seems we had an earthquake,” she added, almost matter of factly, using the same tone of voice she would use as if she was asking me if I wanted my eggs easy over or just an order of French toast.
“An earthquake,” I reply, incredulously. “Here in Central Alberta. Sylvan Lake. Actually, no, it couldn’t be. We don’t actually get earthquakes here. True, my bed did shake this morning, but I think it was just my dog, he scratches himself like crazy sometimes.”
I take the first sip of coffee, made even more delicious by the wait, and my mind processes the new information.
Oh my goodness.
An earthquake. Who knew?
Here I thought it would be just another Monday morning when I stumble out of bed, make the coffee, weigh myself, get depressed, and resolve, for the thousandth time, to exercise more and eat less and then cheerfully carry on with my day.
But, it is true. It was an earthquake.
Things are back to to normal now, but for that one brief moment in time I, along with many other residents of central Alberta, experienced how, in less than a heartbeat, life as we know it, could change.
Wow! I still feel slightly shell shocked.
I think I’d better grab another coffee and process this one more time!
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.