December 11/365 Happy Things

There must always be fire, real fire. I say to my friend, “I’m putting the candles in the windows,” and she launches into a discussion of her new, battery-operated candles which have replaced the corded ones. I let her go on and on, and it never crosses her mind that I mean real candles, real flames. Why would I go to the bother, when the replacements are so much safer, cheaper, and easier to assemble?

candles-e1544712889250.jpg

Soon after we moved to this house, I bought the lanterns at IKEA, along with boxes of JUBLA tapers. I wish I had bought more lanterns, because these particular ones were a one-year phenomenon: simple, modern, and the perfect depth for our sills. When lit, the warm light dances against the dark windowpanes, and I think about wanderers and those who are lost to me, and I believe for a moment, as all of our sad species has believed over thousands of years, that the fires will keep us safe and bring others home. Only real fire – a gift, a miracle, a treasure – could offer that.

One of my favorite solstice songs, written by Brendan Graham, based on a poem* by Macdara Woods, and sung by Benita Hill:

Winter, Fire and Snow

In winter fire is beautiful
Beautiful like a song
In winter snow is beautiful
All of the winter long

And you, little son come safely home
Riding the tail of the wind
May you always come this safely home
In winter, fire and snow

The day gets dark uneasily
Darker and darker still
And you are gone to Carnival
And I feel the winter chill

But you, little son come safely home
Riding the tail of the wind
May you always come this safely home
In winter, fire and snow

But you, little son come safely home
Riding the tail of the wind
May you always come this safely home
In winter, fire and snow

In winter fire is beautiful
Beautiful like a song
In winter snow is beautiful
All of the winter long
All of the winter long

*Macdara Woods talks about his poem, “Fire and Snow and Carnevale.”

 

 

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