I find that there is something ethereal and about a candle. Soft, calming, and welcoming, a tear drop of colours from yellow, to orange to blue. A candle to me can conjure up a whole of host of images, from Icelanders in their turf houses telling each other stories by candlelight, or perhaps four children on an adventure, wandering around an old house, with just a candle its holder to lead their way, or Ebenezer Scrooge creeping through his house as ghostly chains echo around him or his ill-used assistant Bob Crachit sat at his desk, warming his hands by his flickering candle.
I like how a candle can create instant relaxation, set a calming atmosphere and how it can make a large room small. It’s that time of year when all we want to do is stay indoors, hunker down and get cosy, as the rain batters down, the leaves swirl, and the dark nights crawl in. I do have a candle burning for most of the year, different scents for different seasons, but autumn and winter the candles seem even more soothing. As I write, the candle by my side has the scent of a Pine Forest and I am instantly transported north, to pine and fir trees, crisp snow, a dark night full of stars and if I am lucky the northern lights may appear.
During lockdown in my writing workshops, we wrote about the home and what things or objects we were grateful for to have around us. I often wrote about candles and the calm they would bring, I bought lots of them during lockdown. There wasn’t much any of us could do, or control at the time, but for me a candle was a simple pleasure during a terrible time. I have always loved them, candelabras filled with white candles and twists of ivy filled the tables for our December Wedding, candles to distract me from the horror of a green and orange living room when we bought a house to renovate and had a baby at the same time. There are candles for celebrations, for beginnings, middles and ends, for milestones and birthdays, remembrances and for advent. There are always candles on my parents Christmas dinner table.
I most often use a candle for when I’m writing, and I have been pleased to read that many other writers do the same. Nigel Slater in The Christmas Chronicles writes “I wake early, sit at my desk and write. A daily ritual which if missed sets my world briefly off its axis. For the best months of the year, it will still be dark, a prickle of cold in the air; slightly-too-long arms of my sweater (my writing jumper, a dear old friend) slipping softly over my fingers as I type, as if I was wearing fingerless gloves… I do most of my early morning writing by candlelight. There is a warmth to the light given by a single flame that no electric filament bulb can ever match” I couldn’t agree more.