By Dan Miller
September 26, 2008
I don't really comprehend how electric currents are generated and regulated, and sent with balanced intensity into our homes and businesses.
I don't understand -- if I turn on a vacuum cleaner or power drill -- why my neighbor's lights don't dim a bit, if the electrical line runs to my house first.
Thankfully, I don't have to understand.... there are other people who do.
I'm awestruck that electricity... and its potential... has always been here on the planet.
Eons before humans even walked the earth, electricity was around, waiting in the wings to be discovered and harnessed.
I imagine the earliest cave dwellers and their kids were amused when they found they could scrape their feet along the leaves and furs covering the floor of the cave, then touch the skin of another cave- person, producing a little spark and pop.
Their crude knowledge of electricity was probably about the same as mine today.
It's beyond my comprehension how -- after the water has rushed over the spillways, and the wind has spun the big blades -- the resulting electricity can be stored, and then sold and transferred over long wires to power companies hundreds of miles away.
It's all miraculous to me.
These days, electricity even provides a sensation of security and comfort.
Recently, in the middle of the night, I sat straight up in bed.... something was wrong.
I awakened because the house was suddenly too quiet and still.
Immediately I knew... there was no power.
It would remain off for a couple of hours.
Everything is.... and feels.... darker when the power is out.
A house can become rather spooky when current stops flowing through its veins.
There comes a creepy silence.
Little noises that we've grown oblivious to are suddenly conspicuous by their absence.
Refrigerators, ice-makers, clocks, digital cable boxes, fans, fluorescent lights, air conditioners, water heaters....
The silence actually closes in around you....
The stillness is unsettling, and keeps you awake...
Then "pop"... the power's back... and sleep comes easily....
At least after you've reset the clocks.