The Current Situation

Sometimes moving forward feels like two steps backwards. On Thursday, Mother Nature threw a curveball at several neighborhoods when she allowed one of her large, ailing trees to tumble over. The tree landed on several major electric transmission lines in the Valley Grove area, resulting in a power outage for almost 6,000 customers in two counties.

Life as we knew it ground to a sudden halt. No electricity meant no light by which to read the newspaper. The refrigerator ceased its usual humming. The talking heads on the radio were silenced and the inane reality shows on television faded to black.

The garage door remained closed as the electric door opener was inoperable. The ironing board became obsolete without its accompanying steam iron puffing away. That ultra-convenient portable telephone went silent without its electrical umbilical cord to the outside world. The electric stove was useless to anyone hoping to heat up some soup or make a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

Luckily the outside temperature was comfortable enough that the furnace was not necessary although some might have been tempted to click on the air conditioner if the heat and humidity continued to climb.

Let’s face it, we have painted ourselves into an electronic corner with our need for power to run our lives. And isn’t it great!

It is an amazing thing that, with a flip of a switch, our lives become brighter, filled with sights and sounds all because of electricity. It allows us to pop dinner into a microwave and spend less time at the stove. Electricity babysits our children who play games on computers while we tend to the laundry or pay some bills via our laptops.

Benjamin Franklin could never have imagined what impact his little experiment with a kite, some string and a key would have on future generations. But we know. We are spoiled beyond our own comprehension by that lovely thing called electricity.

With its arcing power, I have total respect for electricity and for those who work in the industry. Without the workers who climb the poles and perform their own magic to restore a line break, we would not be so comfortable. They go places I would never have the courage to go. You see them working in the worst weather to bring our lives back to normal by restoring lost power.

So it’s important that we take care of them as well as they do us. Please stop pounding nails and staples into electric poles. They pose quite a danger to the power company workers who must climb those poles. Put your garage sale signs in your yards on lawn stakes instead.

And if you see someone on a power pole who does not look as though he belongs there, call the authorities. Too many copper thieves are stripping electric lines, which puts people in danger.

In the meantime, portable generators are probably a good idea for thunderstorm season and really come in handy during a blizzard when power may be knocked out. Nothing says love like a four-stroke, gas-powered portable generator.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at