Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Beautiful And Functional

Last night Husby and I were sitting at the kitchen table eating leftover pot roast, potatoes, and carrots covered in gravy. It was a typical dinnertime as we ate and shared the happenings of our days. Suddenly, the lights went out.

We’ve lived in our house for eight years and the lights have never gone out, thanks to buried lines. The weather was cold, but clear. There was no observable reason for the power to fail.

As we peeked out the windows we could see dark houses for blocks. The entire neighborhood was out. We looked at each other with a glimmer of excitement. Husby and I scurried about, gathering what we needed to find our way around the house and to keep warm in case the furnace would be out for a while. He went to the garage for a load of firewood and I went to the various closets to gather the half-burned test candles I had forgotten about until that moment.

There were three candles in the dinette area and three in the parlor. There was one in each of the bathrooms upstairs, and one in the powder room. One candle illuminated the bedroom, while another was situated at the landing of the stairs. Seven candles and a roaring fire in the fireplace cast a golden glow in the rumpus room where we sat and talked and laughed at our pioneer-like ways.

We felt sorry for our neighbors who sat in the dark, and sorrier for those who found their way around their houses using cold, blue, LED flashlights while we were made cozy by the light and warmth of many hand-poured candles.

The house began to smell of beeswax and various other scented candles like peppermint, holly berry, mulled cider, and pine. These wonderful fragrances mingled with the aroma of wood smoke from the fireplace.

How absolutely perfect for a candle maker to be caught without electricity. I burn candles frequently for ambiance, but on this night they became functional as well. We sat in the glow of flames, reading and writing in a silence broken only by the crackles coming from the fireplace. We didn’t mind being unable to do chores requiring electricity, nor did we miss the drone of re-runs coming from the TV.

When the power came on two hours later, I felt a surge of disappointment. Husby and I looked at each other and decided to keep reading and writing by the candlelight, foregoing all means of electrical illumination…except for the Christmas tree.

I highly recommend an evening sans electrical illumination. Even if your power isn’t out, turn all the lights off and place candles around the house. You’ll be surprised at how functional you can remain, yet how relaxed you can become. A extra bonus: everyone looks better by candle light.

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