The Miracle of the Hydro

So after the long, frustrating efforts I recorded in my last post trying to get my hydro system working in the pouring rain, I gave up for a while.  The numbers weren’t climbing, and I assumed the pipes I’d jammed together in the dark had come apart again.  The only wet-dry glue I could find among my neighbors was so old it had congealed into a blue, toxic gel.  David, my partner, was coming up and I would just have to wait for him to bring new glue.

I gave up, and ran the generator to charge the batteries.  As it leapt into life after one pull on the cord, I thought, “How ironic—the one damn thing that works around here is the thing that runs on fossil fuels.”  As if to mock me, it died.  Grimly, I recited my mantra, “Oh hurray, another thing in physical reality that I can fix!  Unlike the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, or the health bill being gutted in the Senate, or the siege of Gaza, this is a problem I can solve myself!”  I got out the oil and filled the well.  The generator started.

The next morning, I got up ready to go tackle the pipe.  I walked outside and heard the noise of the hydro running.  I have one bad ear that is filled with constant tinnitus and in the last few weeks it has gotten twice as bad as usual, so I didn’t quite trust what I was hearing, and walked out to see.

The hydro was running.  But if the numbers weren’t climbing—that would mean something really was broken, an electrical line or a bad connection, something beyond my fixing.  I went back in—the numbers were up.

A miracle!  The hydro healed itself!

It’s Hanukah, when my Jewish friends and family and I  celebrate a similar kind of household miracle, a vial of holy oil that is reputed to have burned for eight days instead of one when the victorious Maccabees were cleansing the Temple after successfully ejecting the Greek occupation.  The Rabbis were always skeptical of this miracle—suspecting rightly that it was merely an excuse for lighting candles in what is probably the remnant of a much more ancient solstice ritual to bring back the light.  But hey—it’s that time of year and I’d just had my own miracle of the self-healing hydro—which is itself a miracle of light, given that it produces the electricity that keeps the bulbs burning bright and the computer humming.

So anything is possible.  We could yet get a meaningful accord on the climate and a health bill that actually gave us health care.  We might even get back the Obama people voted for instead of the poor copy left behind by the alien abductors who have spirited him away somewhere.  Maybe it’s an omen of unexpected wonders to come.

The hydro continues to run.  It may come apart in the next storm, but until then, I’m not touching the pipe.  My other mantra is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  The point is, sometimes healing just happens.  The onery, contrary universe offers us a bit of grace.  I’m grateful.  It’s nearly solstice, and the lights remain on.

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