Thunder and lightning clash all around. Repeated strikes, like the hammers of Norse gods, grumpy and disturbed from millennia of slumber, surround me.
Where am I? Rural Maryland.
It’s a well-known fact (to rural Marylanders at least) that this is the time of year for thunderstorms. And whoo boy are they intense here. Sheets of rain and hail deluge down from heavens almost black with angry clouds.
One of my coworkers summed it up thusly whilst looking out the window. “Hey look. Its the apocalypse.” The fact he said this matter-of-factly speaks volumes for the fatalistic attitude of the inhabitants of this rather small state.
The imaginary crowd is sheltering amongst the forest, hoping it will pass them by. The chickens, annoyed and agitated as always, cluck about my feet. I stand upon my chair with arms held in wondrous supplication to the primal fury of Mother Nature.
Now what does this have to do with sojourning and Victorians?
A whole hell of a lot in my mind.
See the storms here remind me of an entirely different nature (haha puns) that I had the misfortune to participate in February past. So let’s put on our top hats, monocles and stuffy attitudes as we step back into an age gone by:
Snow was falling. Probably not unusual to those of you in different climes, but in Washington State, snow falls are a big deal. They’re rare where I’m from and so the vehemence in which this snow fell was quite a system shocker.
I awoke to a blanket of white, turning my world into a scene from someone’s ideal Christmas. The weather, being Washington State and all, swiftly turned from snow to freezing rain. Soon a crust as thick as my finger formed on the snow. Any hopes of leaving my house were dashed as I sprinted up to the front door. My driveway was encrusted with a foot of snow.
Then the power flickered. I groaned. My dog cocked her head in confusion. Then it died altogether.
I learned, over the course of several days, how much I take electricity for granted. With the power dead, so too, died my water and internal heating system.
I could soon see my breath in the air of my house. Definitely not a pleasant experience. I became, like my ancestors of old, a student of the sun. Reading was a thing done during the daytime by sunlight. At night I had to awkwardly position a flashlight and pray that this trying ordeal would soon end. Alas such was not to be. It would be five days until power was restored to my humble abode, five days of hushed obscenities, clutched blankets and the scraping of snow shovels.
I relied upon the stores of food that lingered within my depowered refrigerator. Water for drinking consisted of snow scraped from the cars in the front yard and boiled of impurities.
A merry little fire separated me from frozen hell. I felt, at the time, a tenuous connection to an age gone by. When electricity had yet to be invented. When elaborate moustachios were the norm and not the province of hipsters. When books were read (and written for that matter) by candlelight. It was an interesting, and oddly comforting, thought.
I soon found myself desiring cigars, and resisting the urge to stroke my stubble cloaked face and say “Ahhh yes.” I pored over what maps I had to hand and lamented the state of the Empire. To this day I have no idea what Empire, but b’gad did I lament its state.
Then the power came back on and modern life pressed in once more. The TV promised endless commercials for products that had no practical application. I was no longer shackled to the sun for light. Heat flooded my home once more. The snow melted. The rains fell again. All returned to normal.
But the memories. They lingered. That tenuous connection to an age of locomotives and facial hair, to petticoats and empires, briefly touched by mine self, left me with eyes opened and inspiration gained.
That then is the story of my sojourn into the Victorian Age. Now show me some love people and leave me some comments. For the Captain of Chickens is a lonely and jealous soul who demands acknowledgement (please).
As always, thanks for reading.