Sixth Sense

Our electricity went out again last night, for the third time in a week.  Thankfully, the temperature has been a bit more moderate than it was last week, when we were in the midst of the worst heat wave in recent history. Lately when the power goes out, it’s never completely out, which is another blessing. We can run ceiling fans, although their speed waxes and wanes with the fluctutating voltage. Same with the lights, so there is an eerie dimming effect that occurs occasionally. It’s a little like living in circus haunted house. Nevertheless, between the power problems and some very boisterous thunderstorms which rolled through about 4 a.m., no one slept very well. When I got up this morning, it was gloomy and dank, but comfortably cool. I had just enough current to power the coffeemaker, although it took quite a while for the water to pour through and the coffee wasn't quite as hot as i like it.

The power company forecast a return of service between 9:30 and 11:30 p.m., so anticipating a long day of trying to stay cool, I laid pretty low all morning, keeping mostly to my reading chair which afforded me a comfortable breeze from the fan.  I realized how oddly quiet the house was. No humming refrigerator, no intermittent click-whirr of the air conditioner powering on. No buzzing reminders of washing machines finishing a load, or dryers shutting off. It actually wasn't all bad this morning, have a few hours of complete peace to start the day. The dogs, who usually get up with me, had found their own cool corners, and seemed to be sticking to them. In fact, as the morning wore on, it occurred to me that they were unnaturally quiet. I purposely got up and rattled around in the kitchen, which usually brings Molly right to my feet on the off chance that there might be a morsel of something coming her way.


I went into the bathroom, and opened the medicine cabinet whose creaky door seems to be the signal that I'm getting ready for the day and there will soon be a biscuit available.


I tiptoed into the bedroom and checked on them, much as you would a baby you hoped not to disturb. They were both sleeping peacefully in complete zen-like tranquility, their breathing nearly imperceptible, their limbs totally relaxed and limp.  It's almost as if they had a sixth sense about the need to conserve energy and remain cool, and had gone into a state of canine hibernation, not even wanting to rouse themselves to eat - and if you've ever had a dog, you know that's an act which goes against every canine instinct!

Animals are such sentient beings, and my two have proven time and again their ability to sense things about the atmosphere - and particularly about their masters. They know to an absolute fact when I'm just thinking about giving them a bath. Even if I never mention the word, Magic can tell I've prepared the bathtub in the basement and will run and jump into Jim's lap for protection. When I'm in my office working and heave a certain sigh that means things aren't going the way I'd hoped, Molly will be at my side within seconds, her little paws planted on my knees, her fluffy tail wagging rapidly as if to offer her services for assistance. That's why it doesn't surprise me when I hear of dogs being trained to predict seizures or blood sugar abnormalities in their owners, or any of the other claims people make about their pets extraordinary capabilities.

In an unexpected surprise, our service was restored about noon. As soon as they felt that cool blast from the central air conditioning, they came to life and started about their regular morning business, knowing things were back to normal again.

I wish I could train them to predict power failures. That could definitely come in handy around here.