Tuesday, March 19, 2013


There once was a place called the compound. It was utilitarian at first but grew into something more, and the identity of the place changed. The name changed with it, and the place became New Haven. Time and pressure shaped New Haven further, until the people there decided that one final change was appropriate.

Then there was Haven. A simple name that also serves as a declaration of purpose.

Not many people around town are exactly frothing at the mouth about the name change. A lot of folks wanted us to be called Haven the first time we changed the name, but it seemed pretentious and overly optimistic then. Now, with all the big changes going on in our part of the world, it fits. No one is throwing a party over that.

But we are having a party. Because communities tend to come together for big events and milestones, and today is one of them. The constant and tireless efforts of, well, damn near everyone around here has led to this moment, when I can finally say we've built some of that future I keep talking about.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have POWER.

Electricity all over the place. It's not perfect and certainly not as reliable as what we had before The Fall, but it's there. The folks over at the Box have been cranking out parts for wind turbines--not a complicated mechanism when you really break it down into components--nonstop for months. We have ample supplies of spare power lines to use for the copper, and have gutted house after house out in the county for more. People have been working on the lines we left alone, the ones connecting the homes in Haven's many boroughs as well as the hospital, in an effort to create a closed network.

During the day, of course, most people do not use electricity. We have huge banks of batteries linked together in several locations, most salvaged in the wild but a few made from scratch right here at home. That's not really a long-term solution, but between the turbines and solar panels and energy storage, the nights around here don't have to be lit by fire. Even if it's just one of those twisty low-energy bulbs or an LED, every person can fight the darkness back if they so choose.

More than most, Big K is excited about this. He's a smart guy--really smart--and he started chattering at me today about things we could do with power. I think he misses the old world more than the average person.

Patrick might be angry that I'm telling on him, but he plugged in an electric griddle and cooked a hell of a breakfast for a bunch of us this morning. The only cooking we're supposed to do with electricity is in the mess halls, but I think he can be forgiven his lapse. Will was there, after all, and he's the boss. Besides which the sheer joy at such a simple act as cooking for a dozen people was worth any punishment, and if one comes I'll share it with Pat. Small price to pay for a hot meal that doesn't taste like wood smoke.

Even Becky came out of her hole to spend some time with us. She has lost weight and her hair is longer than I've ever seen it, but she was smiling and happy to see us. She planted a kiss right on my mouth after she jumped into my arms. No worries; Jess got the exact same treatment.

So I spent the morning with family, friends old and new, and we celebrated one of the most venerated ideals that our race has: human achievement. There was pride enough to spare at that table, and by God there should have been. All of us were part of it to some degree or another, and even if we weren't, every person there did their part to make this possible. I think that after today we can safely say that there are no old guard or new arrivals. We're all just citizens of Haven, a place we built together.

It's a damn good feeling, I have to say.

*I also want to give a special thanks to Gavin Coates, who was kind enough to translate yesterday's post into Spanish in the comments. You, sir, are the kind of person who gives me hope for the future.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Real electricity (without having to pay the utilities company!!!) Congratulations!
    What a wonderful feeling, in the midst of travesty and threats beyond belief, a group of Survivors band together for the good of the community...sharing failures and successes until the ultimate goal is achieved. Imagine what could be accomplished if differences and preconceived ideas could be put aside to work together to improve the quality of life for all. Maybe even a small baseball league for sheer joy and entertainment! The possibilities are endless!