Somewhere from the cold and dark…

Years ago we participated in the National Geographic’s Genographic Project. We sent away our cheek swaps and they either tested the Y-Chromosome for male or the mitochondrial DNA for your female ancestors. No surprise, the Willises were some of the first cave dwellers in what is now Britain. Likely surviving through the millennia by being first in front of the fire, and habitually late to wars and other property conflicts.

Recent events have put me in touch with my cave dwelling forbearers. Dry weather has reduced the amount of hydro-electricity available to Nepal. The lack of fuel due to the blockade has both reduced the amount of gas available for personal generators and the LPG available for heaters.

It is dark. This was today’s power schedule:

The times indicate when the power is OFF. So today we had power for 4 hours, from noon to 4 PM. During the power ON time we charged our batteries… literally:
  • The house has a large battery inverter that keeps the internet running but not enough power to keep appliances running.
  • We charged a couple of lanterns, they can keep a room bright for about 6 hours.
  • We have small LED lights stuck on the walls powered by rechargeable batteries.
  • Charge the laptops, thank goodness the MacBook Airs have a long battery life.
  • Charge the iPhones (also our backup internet if the inverter fails).

It is not terribly cold here, but cold enough that we don’t worry about the food spoiling in the refrigerator. The house doesn’t get warm. No heating. The cold morning fog seeps through window sills, and crawls beneath the gaps in the doors. It clings to everything and sucks out the warmth by your touch as sure as a vampires embrace.

We walk through the house in long underwear, fleeces, and down booties. The house is large. During the winter we don’t use the second floor at all. The third floor only for the laundry (when there is power). And on the ground floor we only use the kitchen and dining room during our waking hours. In bed, I don’t do my normal toss and turn. Beneath the 10 inches of blankets and down, I am pinned as well as any insect on a display board. Even so, it is my favorite place.

 In the evening the heavy curtains are drawn over our openings to the world. We sit before the glow of modern technology. We are in our cave.