Reub's journey

11 June 2010


I have a fondness for candles. They are like quiet, comforting, little friends that keep me company on evenings like tonight, when I am alone.
When we have people over to dinner I light a dozen or more candles: my dinner parties resemble seances, in a good way.

The artist Goya fashioned a hat for himself with candles in it, so that he could paint at night.

His self portrait proves that this is true (although you have to look pretty close to see the candles).

The movie Goya's Ghosts took this fact and probably exaggerated a bit. I'm kind of jealous of that hat.

Photo by Zack King, British Columbia

In forestry parlance, candles take on a different meaning. Three of the 5 members of my family have fought forest fires. I learned from them that the term "candling" refers to a tree that explodes into fire from the bottom up. It is, according to their accounts, impressive and amazing.

This time of year, all around our house the trees are "candling" --but they are definitely not on fire: the other forestry meaning of "candle" refers to the flowering of pine trees in the late spring.

The trees have been doing this for a few weeks now, but soon we'll be into summer and it will come to a halt. People who suffer from allergies will be grateful because these candles produce tortuous pollen.

Different species of trees produce different-looking candles.

Well, I think all of these candles are worth writing about tonight. And what the heck, an inscrutable poem for you from the 1920's:

From Flame and Shadow, by Sara Teasdale:

Blue Squills

How many million Aprils came
Before I ever knew
How white a cherry bough could be,
A bed of squills, how blue!

And many a dancing April
When life is done with me,
Will lift the blue flame of the flower
And the white flame of the tree.

Oh burn me with your beauty, then,
Oh hurt me, tree and flower,
Lest in the end death try to take
Even this glistening hour.

O shaken flowers, O shimmering trees,
O sunlit white and blue,
Wound me, that I, through endless sleep,
May bear the scar of you.

1 comment:

  1. I never knew the word, candling.

    I love candles too. My very favorite scents are outdoorsy and woodsdy.


Talk to me.