My red-headed companion, Brandy, a twelve-year-old Golden Retriever, and I were out on a short “business trip” before bedtime this evening. If you are a dog-owner, you know what kind of “business” I mean. The darkness at 10 P.M. yielded to my mighty Magtlite, at first. Half-way home, the color of the beam turned from white to yellow and the intensity dropped. The batteries were dying. We know our way home and the road is well paved, so we didn’t need the light … unless there was something surprising like a skunk. Close encounters of the skunk kind must be avoided. Granted, we would smell him coming, probably. Probably is not good enough.
I turned the flashlight off for a few seconds, to give it a rest, then turned it back on. I got several seconds more of intense light before it faded out. I could qickly survey they path ahead. I repeated this several times, and we made it home without being subjected to olfactory offense.
This recovering is neat, I thought: The chemical reactions that charge the batteries continued while the switch was off, leading to some electrical charge storage that could later be converted, briefly, into current to light the bulb when switched back on. A fan of cat-naps during the day, I understood this perfectly. The Maglite and I can resume activity, for another short burst, then rest is needed again.
Home now, I’ll change the batteries for new ones. My family, on the other hand, will just have to hope that a night’s sleep will restore me. Frost’s poem’s protagonist had “miles to go before I sleep.” I’ll have miles to go once I awake.
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