Falling Off The Grid

I live in a rural area of Oregon, so when storms hit as they do here in the Northwest, it is not unusual for my home to be disconnected from the grid for a week or more. Itís a weird thing to live in the middle of the grid, but not be connected to it. In some deep ways your life canít really go forward. You are in your home, but unable to take advantage of living in it. My memory of it is a form of being disembodied. The other powerful memory I still carry is how easy it is to take the whole grid thing for granted. Kind of like the ozone layer, we only started to notice how well it functioned and protected us after it was broken.

In this country, we are so accustomed to running water, that we hardly give this gift a thought, except to grumble about the increasing costs of keeping it going. It is worth a pause to consider the millions of man hours that went into creating this energy grid that we live in. Then, for the next moment, imagine living on another continent where the grid is barely established and the majority go to bed with the sun and carry water for miles, assuming they can get it.

We are a lucky bunch living within the power grid, however outdated it might be. I grew up in New York, and while I have no memory of any storm like this in my lifetime, I do remember that New York is not the place that taught me about patience. The crowds of New York teach you to be tough and stand up for your own, so I am not surprised that the grumbling has been reaching proportions that require police protection for the gas lines or outside of the power companies.

The spokesperson for the New Jersey power authority said yesterday that they had to remove over 45,000 trees to repair the service in their area so far. It takes time to repair power grids, especially because we donít really spend the time, attention, and resources to fix them until they are really broken. With the realities of global warming and the storm capacity they will create upon us, how about this for an idea: lets put half the country back to work rethinking our power grid.

Letís dig deep, create jobs, and bury the lines. Letís invent new technology to show where they break. What if we remember our generation as the ones who created the power grid of the future? Maybe we could even recycle our old power grid supplies for those countries that never grumble when the lights go out, because they donít have any lights.

For those thousands of friends who are walking around their lives, waiting for it to turn back on, I send my deepest compassion for how hard it is to wait for normalcy. When you consider how to be patient for the hours or days left in this vigil, keep this one thought in mind: how can I not make this worse? If you could only find one way to not make it work, you will find a new level of patience that will warm your heart even when your heat wonít go on.

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Lynn C.
Lynn C.2 years ago

Aaah Wendy, I want to do it permanently! I was so very fortunate to have lived off the grid in Alaska, and that was undoubtedly the happiest time of my life! I'll do something very similar as soon as I'm able - you bet!

Rama H.
Rudy V.3 years ago

Solar and wind power would seem to be a way for the future. But that means being self-sufficient. The electric company would make no money.

Siti R.
Siti R.3 years ago

one only appreciate things when one gets burned!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

At least one decent comment from Ms. Strgar. :-)

Dianne D.
Dianne D.3 years ago

You are very wise to learn to live off the grid. When I lived in Portland, I was off the grid for 3 days. It was hard, but instead of vegging in front of the TV, I read by candlelight and went to bed early. Not being able to shower was the worst, but my office had their power so I could take a sponge bath at work. I need to learn to live off the grid, as does everyone.

Unnikrishnan Sasidharan


Past Member
Christine W.3 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

rene davis
rene davis3 years ago

"Let’s invent new technology to show where they break. What if we remember our generation as the ones who created the power grid of the future? Maybe we could even recycle our old power grid supplies"
Its hard too imagine a power source that wouldn't have a huge impact on the earth's resources. However, I hope the technology will soon be available that revolutionise our demand for power.

Kathleen Cazander

Thanks for sharing.

Christine Stewart

I also wish trees would be trimmed so the limbs don't hang right over the powerlines. Every year you hear of power outages due to snow covered branches falling onto power lines. really, you didn't remember this has happened every freakin' year since electricity was invented, and you still don't trim the branches from the lines???