Sunday Opinion: Powerful

Having just worked through 10 days of scorchingly and witheringly high heat, and gone home to a house without power for almost 5 days, I have the following observations.

Power is a word that has lots of meanings and plenty of nuance.   Now that I have my power back-meaning my electrical power- I was able to research the meaning of the word power via google.  Relevant descriptive words include might and force.  Strength.  Potency.  authority.  and energy. 

A powerful piece of music demands a response.  A powerfully executed painting demands the visual attention of a variety of people with very different points of view. That powerful painting, or that opera,  may enchant generations of viewers. A powerful argument is convincing.  Niagara Falls is a place that details the power of nature.  A powerful country depends on its economic and political strength.  The sheer power of a cheetah may overcome the incredible speed of a gazelle.  A powerful design, as in the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, the discovery of radium by Marie Curie in 1898, the drawings of  Leonardo Da Vinci, the plays written by Shakespeare, the theories of the universe posed by Stephen Hawkings, the paintings of  Helen Rosenthaler, or the novels of William Faulkner- very powerful ideas, and art can influence thinking for generations. Should you be an afficianado of landscape design, I am sure you are aware of the work of Mien Ruys, Kathryn Gustafson, Andre LeNotre,  Jacques Wirtz, Vita Sackville-West, and Fernando Caruncho-I could go on without respite for a few days about those landscape designers who have powerfully influenced my thinking about the landscape.  Every true gardener is endowed with electricity.  Power.  

But I have a simpler idea in mind here.  I am interested that a good portion of the meaning of power refers specfically to electricity.  Having been without electrical power for more than just a few days,  I am confident in saying that I like my electricity.  Electricity powers my computer, my air conditioning, my sprinkler system, my lights, my refrigerator-electricity powers my world.   Would I want to do without it, permanently?  Not a chance.  Sleeping in the basement was ok-not great.  I like ending the day in my own bed.  Would I be willing to isolate myself, and give up my computer?  When my electricity came back on,  I felt as is I were set free.  Would I want to do without what electricity provides-no.   The days I spent without electricity-trying.  Not great.  Really irritating and exhausting.

The power we know as electrical energy funds our culture.  It funds our ideas.  It funds our plans.  Electricity in the garden-I am sure you have experienced it.  On that one special day, or that special moment. Once you experience it, you’ll want to experience it again. That said,  I so hope you have power.  A life without it would be a very different life indeed.       




  1. Nancy LaMotte says

    I feel your pain Deborah. The summer of all the hurricanes in Louisiana we were without power for 14 days…the grocery stores ran out of food, the banks ran out of cash, and the gas stations ran out of fuel. It became surrealistic…and yet we not only survived, we created great memories and really stopped to think about life as we know it.

Leave a Comment