I never turn lights on when I get up in the dark. I don’t need. Some people think it’s weird, walking around the dark. I think it’s weird when you have to switch on a new light, even few feet you walk around. That was one of the things when I went to Chicago, I’d look up and just see an orange night sky with nothing in it, like they’d emptied out all the stars and gone and hidden them somewhere. In the Twin Cities you didn’t see a lot of stars, but on a good night you could look up and see something. In Chicago it was just a void. It probably seems stupid, but that left me feeling very blank.
So I didn’t mind the power being out last night. I always think a house feels cozy when the weather is smashing around at the house outside. I woke up a few times when a big branch broke, or something hit the shed or the barn, or a limb on the old maple next to the house swept across it like a midnight broom. I woke up, pulled the quilts up a little higher — I have these old quilts my mother and grandmother used to make. Nobody makes quilts anymore like that. They really keep you warm. Pull them up close and listen to the rattle and swell of the wind and drift back to sleep. I don’t know when it was I woke up and realized the yard light wasn’t on, the one that lights up the whole front area, and the open stretch by the shed and the entry to the barn.
I got up and walked through the house. It was pretty light out. The moon is waxing, I think. We hadn’t seen it in a few days but it was up around its meridian, getting near fun, looking like a big round ball of ice. In the winter it gets that glow around it from the ice in the air, but it always gives me a warm feeling. I went out on the porch and grabbed an armful of stove wood and brought it in. You could already feel the house getting cold by then, but outside … It took the air out of me quick. My mother said it was supposed to get to 50 below or something, wind-chill. Damn, it felt like that. Stupid for me to just step outside for a minute in just a bathrobe and slippers. I had the fire in the store lit and glowing pretty quick. Once you shut the door it doesn’t send out much light but in the dark it was plenty, it felt like having a light on. I sat there in the dark and wondered if the cafe would be open. I walked around to the front and looked out the windows and the night seemed dark over that way toward town. There was some light from the tractor plant — they have their own power — but the town looked as if it were dark. I sat down on the couch and thought, “I’ll just drift off while I’m here in this warming room and probably just my luck the power will come on right about 4 or 4:30, when it’s time to get up for work.” And it did.