Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – January 11, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – January 11, 2004 – A candle is such a wondrous gift to the world! At some point in his evolution, man realized that it was possible to create light on a smaller and more intimate scale than that provided by a fire. In addition to the fire in his inside hearth, he could have light on his table and in his living and sleeping quarters.
With a candle in hand, light could also accompany him as he walked around inside or out. I have no idea where candles were first made, but I’m grateful for their presence in my life. I’m sure some of the appeal of candlelight is simplistic. Our ancestors passed on this attraction to fire and light, with its association of comfort and safety, to us – it’s genetic.
We have heeded the call. Candles, candle holders, decorative matches and match boxes are an intrinsic part of cultures around the world. In recent years, as home decoration, decor and improvement became a worldwide industry, the candle has continued to reign supreme! I’m not sure if I have ever been in a home that was devoid of candles. They are on kitchen and dining room tables, fireplace mantels, evident in decorative wall sconces, on coffee tables, side tables and in candle chandeliers. Candles are in bathrooms and bedrooms, offices and hallways. I don’t think there is a room in the house where a candle is amiss.
Candles are used to recognize every special occasion from birthdays and weddings to church services and funerals. Candles can be part of an intimate dinner, a romantic evening, a long soak in the tub, or the earnest study of a book or paper. They can be lit to welcome guests to your home or to signal the start of a meal, when friends and family come together to share a special dinner.
The lighting of a candle in remembrance of someone can soothe a sad soul and serve as a recognition of the passage of time. I was on vacation in France the year my mother lost her long struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. I was staying in a beautiful, medieval town called Cahors. The night before I left to fly back to Toronto, I visited the cathedral in the town square and lit a long, thick taper in remembrance of my mother.
This Is Exactly Where I Stood All Those Years Ago
It would have burned for many hours and it gave me enormous comfort as I sat alone on the plane during the flight home. I had no way of knowing when the flame finally flickered and died, but I still remember with reverence, the simple pleasure of lighting that candle in my mother’s honour and knowing that it burned to mark her presence in the world and to acknowledge her passing from this life.
Candles are available to us in many different forms, from tea lights, to long, elegant tapers, to squat round or square ones. They come in every imaginable height and colour. Scented candles add aroma and intimacy to special celebrations and floating candles light up the centre piece on a beautifully set dinner table. Candles in outdoor lanterns make an evening garden party sparkle. Birthday cakes are marked by candles and well-wishers cheer on the guest of honour as they are blown out. A candle in a stalled car in winter can save a life. What a sad day it would be if candles were no more.
Whenever you feel as if the world has turned its back on you – take a moment to light a candle, either for yourself, or better still, for someone else. It’s simply not possible to keep your smile a secret as you watch a candle wick glows and then flicker into life.
Why not start a new, personal tradition. Light a candle every day as a reminder of your own good fortune or to honour the life of another. Someone who is still part of your life, or perhaps a person who has gone before you.
I’m a big believer that when a candle is blown out, the light never really dies – it accumulates somewhere else and is a force for good. So light candles more often in honour of those you love, those in need and in support of our beleaguered world.
I don’ know why – but I know it helps!