The wind tore through the garden, like an incensed giantess searching for lost keys in invisible sofa cushions. Back yard chairs toppled over and got flung against the shed. Branches, stripped from trees, ended up strewn indiscriminately about the fence line, on the rooftop, and out into the neighbouring field. This was to say nothing of the rain; pelting, relentless, heavy, hard, and practically drowning everything in a sideways downpour. A tremendously powerful and deafening gust of wind arose, followed immediately by a loud BOOM! And then darkness.
A power pole, struck by a falling tree, lurched over and in the process collided with the main transformer box. That was the source of the boom and the loss of power. A few minutes later, first responders were on the scene securing the area and closing off the road. Within an hour, power company trucks were onsite. Three hours later we had power again. But it’s what happened in those three hours that was truly magical.
Practically Magic – Candles
As you might imagine, the first thing we did when the house fell into darkness was to light candles. One of the benefits of a household full of witches is the preponderance of candles. We have candles everywhere for practical purposes and magical reasons. Within a few moments the whole house was glowing in a particularly lovely golden hue, created by candlelight reflecting off of a red brick hearth and off white walls. It was simply marvelous.
There’s something completely normal about my partner, Phoenix, walking through the house carrying a large, verdigris, candelabrum, lighting ever more candles while singing a song about bringing back the light.
The pictures and paintings on the walls, coaxed by the flickering light and dancing shadows, seemed to come alive. The seasoned cauldrons on the pot belly stove glistened, and the silver-etched pentacles carved into them appeared extra sparkly. Our magical curio cabinet practically announced to the room “Look at me! I’m just full of magic you can do in the dark”.
And so we started talking about spells and magic…As you do.
Practically Magic – Books
As it became clear that the power was not coming back on anytime soon, we settled into conversation. We realized how long it had been since the house had been so quiet. Actually, still is a better word for it, because the house wasn’t that quiet at all. The wind still continued to howl, rain hammered against the outside of the house, and windows left ever so just ajar were whistling like tea kettles.
The conversation turned to books. We have lots of books. Cook books, magickal books, favourite fiction and non-fiction books. More books than we know what to do with. Except we do know to do with them. We read them.
Phoenix looked at me with a certain twinkle in her eye and said “Wanna read Practical Magic again?” Before you could say midnight margaritas, we were several chapters deep into Alice Hoffman’s 1995 masterpiece. Phoenix read, reciting passages as one would speak a spell aloud. We were the aunts. We were Gillian and Sally, and we were Antonia and Kylie.
Practically Magic – Making The Best Of The Moment
The power was out and the house was getting colder by the minute. Repair crews were obviously waiting for more help and parts to arrive. Automated text updates told us that it was likely the power would be out for several hours. I commented how intrusive the updates felt. An unwelcome interruption, on small glowing screens. I mean, we knew the electricity was still not on.
But you know, we made the best of the moment. Taking a break between chapters, we put on thick woolly socks and cozy PJs. The kettle on our gas stove signaled that the water was boiling. Cups were filled with tea as we settled back down, under a blanket or two, on the couch. Reading resumed. The next few hours were practically perfect. Witches reading about witches, in a house filled with all manner of witch things.
And then, just like that the spell was broken. Lights flickered back on. The TV flashed and rebooted itself. Computers and the microwave beeped back into life. The sound of our own voices were drowned out by talking heads onscreen and our eyes strained against too much unnatural light.
Practically Magic – A Lovely Reminder
It certainly wasn’t convenient to be in the cold and near dark. We both commented how fortunate we are. After all, even if the power didn’t come on that night, it surely would by the next day. If the outage was extended, it’s not like the blackout was region-wide. We could stay with friends or in-laws if need be. The coffee shops and restaurants down the road weren’t impacted, so food and internet service wouldn’t be hard to get.
But there was something delicious about sitting in the candle light, reading, being with each other. The power outage reminded us that the noise from the glowing boxes needn’t be on constantly. Conversation and laughter and reading to one another are perfectly good ways to spend an evening. We’ve agreed to turn the lights off more often of an evening.
And I mean, we do have all these candles. We could light them more often, you know, just because.