Tonight while I was reading the electricity went off. It's not a common thing around here, but it happens at least once a year-usually caused by cars running into a certain pole in the `hood and lasting for only an hour or so. Taking it as a cue for a backporch smoke and some contemplation, I dragged my butt into my chair and rolled out. I was mildly surprised to see that the outage included the streetlights and houses on the next block. There were, in fact, no artificial lights on within view at all, which is rather unusual. It still didn't bother me; it was around 65 degrees tonight with a slight drizzle so I didn't have to worry about freezing. As I sat I also noticed that the only sounds were the dripping; no neighborhood parties, distant freeway traffic, or even the seemingly everpresent trains. As this was friday night I should have expected something out there besides the rain, yet I remained very calm. It was as if much more than the flow of electricity had stopped. Was I thinking terrorism? The rapture? The Twilight Zone? No, I was thinking this was a throwback to the times long ago when North Texas was rolling hills of shortgrass prairie dotted by oak knolls and native villages. When the whitetail deer roamed freely by day and the wildcats stalked them. Was it a paradise then? Of course not, the people had to work constantly to keep themselves clothed and fed; the animals lived as they still do in the disappearing pockets of nature, at each others' throats and at their mercy; and the summers were just as hard on the land, the winters just as cold. Yet somehow, letting my imagination fly for the duration of a Marlboro 100, I felt that life calling to me as it had while walking along innumerable trails through our national parks and forests. I know that as a society steeped in the ultramodern we can't go back to that kind of life, but maybe we can try to carry a piece of it forward with us. I rolled back inside and took a nap and sometime while I slept the lights came on again; yet as I sit here conversing with the miracles of technology I still feel content, because I've drunk from the Hidden Lake and climbed a thousand year old tree. I don't need Edison's light bulbs to see by.