The other week, our power went out.
I had chatted with my sister in law about her bridesmaids dresses for awhile and had gone over to my computer to read the internet for a bit before Smiley got home from work. There was no warning about this power outage - no brief flickers, no flashes, nothing. Just one moment I was reading a somewhat interesting article about how dogs in a household can help babies develop a better immune system and then -
You know how you don't realize just how many things make noises in houses these days until they all stop at once? That silence was always eerie to me growing up and it still is today. Our computer room was completely silent, and dark. The normal, constant hum of running fans was gone and I swear I couldn't tell if my first thought was in my mind or if I had spoken it out loud because it seemed so loud and intrusive.
I wasn't thinking anything exciting. I was thinking - and hoping - that somehow a breaker had simply tripped and all I had to do was go into the garage and turn it back on. I kind of knew it wasn't that though, and as I grabbed our flashlight, I started wondering what else could have knocked off our power.
After all, it wasn't raining and hadn't rained during the afternoon. There were some storms predicted for later in the evening but they hadn't hit yet. Despite the abundance of electronics in our house, we weren't using more than usual. I couldn't think of anything else.
It was no surprise to see that the breaker box in the garage was fine. I texted my husband to let him know the power was out and decided to check outside.
Awhile back, Smiley and I had returned from a trip to IL only to find a tree branch had come down by our house, ripping the power lines down with it. More recently, we had gotten rid of six trees that were most likely to hit our house, but in the back of my mind, I knew the lines were down again.
And they were.
Now, thankfully, they weren't down at our house. You know how occasionally you can go outside and see something and wonder - was that always there? I wondered, were those power lines always dangling in the street?
I walked to the edge of our driveway and saw a pine branch down and partially into the road a few houses down the way. In the other direction, I saw the power lines ripped from the pole and dangling there in the street. It looked like we were one of the lucky six or so houses affected.
There was certainly a relief to see the power lines down; sure our power was out, but it was out because of a physical reason that the power company could fix basically in front of our house. It meant that there was no hazy response about the power being down in an area for a bit for unknown reasons.
I called the incident in to the power company just as Smiley was getting home from work.
"They said they'd probably send someone down here in about 15 minutes or so," I told him.
We watched the road for a few moments, watching as cars went by and tentatively slowed down to swerve around the wires. We heard our neighbor turn on his generator next door.
Smiley shrugged, going inside to change into a t-shirt and shorts. "I guess I might as well mow the lawn then."
I changed out my sandals for socks and gym shoes and joined him in the backyard, helping out by removing large sticks from the yard and putting them in our burn pit.
The mosquitoes in the backyard were ridiculous. I found myself wishing I had a horse tail so that I could be constantly swishing it to rid my back of all the pesky bugs. Every time I stood still for more than five seconds, I could feel a mosquito land. So, I might not have been the most helpful of stick gatherers - instead, I kept going around to the front of the house to see if the power company had arrived yet.
Eventually, Smiley finished mowing the yard and came into the garage.
"Did you see the skeleton in our yard?" he asked me.
I pictured a toy skeleton set, trashed, blown on to our property. I hadn't seen any sort of skeleton. I told Smiley as much.
"Yeah, in the back corner of the property. I think it's a cat."
Well, I guess I couldn't call this day anything but interesting. I followed him back into the yard, going to the far corner of our property. Nothing jumped out to me at first, but then he pointed to a small area and as I got closer, I saw what was unmistakeably bones.
Small bones, a small skeleton - but definitely not a toy.
"See it looks like it has a tail or something," Smiley was saying as I looked for a stick to poke the skeleton with because everyone knows that's how you handle skeletons in your backyard.
"No, it doesn't look right," I said, as I used a large stick that I had obviously missed in my stick gathering duties to push aside some of the pine straw and dirt that partially covered the skeleton. "It looks like -"
Now, I'm not an expert in any sort of bone identification. I've never sat down and thought to myself, gosh, wouldn't it be fun to look at skeletons of small animals so that later in life I can identify them! No, I was not even semi-pro in skeleton identification.
Luckily, this skeleton had a beak.
"I think it's a chicken," I said finally.
The bones were picked clean and I didn't know if that meant I should be more worried that something was out there that might try to eat our little, chicken sized dogs or that the bones had been there for long enough to be only bones and somehow I had missed them for weeks.
"I wonder if it was one of those roosters," Smiley said.
We listened in silence and did nothing further with the bones.
I'm honestly still pretty sure they're just hanging out in our yard, perhaps with the spirit of an angry chicken or rooster attached.
I just have no clue what one does when one finds a very, very dead chicken in their backyard. They never covered this in our closing, despite all the paperwork we went through. And I'm positive our insurance policy doesn't lean one way or another on the matter. It seems cruel to bag the bones and ask our neighbors if they are missing a chicken.
It seems gross to pick them up.
Well, we went to our garage and Smiley patched some holes in our driveway while I watched the repairmen from the city come and fix the power lines. Eventually the mosquitoes became more than overwhelming and we went inside and sat in the dark, chatting about this and that and waiting for the telltale hum of electronics to start up again.
We were only without power for about two and a half hours that night, thankfully, and it wasn't terribly hot out that evening. Also, who knows when we would have found out about that darned dead chicken if it hadn't been for that darned dead pine branch falling on a power line. Funny how life is so connected like that. Or something.