|I received a beautiful brass and glass candle holder from a dear friend many years ago. Coming from the antique store, its look of use through a oeriod of time were insignificant compared to the beautifully intricate molding of the brass base and handle.
A thin amber glass outer cover slipped over the outside of the candle holder, making it look somewhat like a fancy beer mug with a fire on top. It was a unique petite updated hurricane lamp, and I used it often.
When filled with a lit taper, of any given length or color, the beautiful glow emitted from the candle always filled the room with the warmth of light and happy memories of friendship.
I submit that we don't really love things, but rather the personal, emotional, or otherwise useful, fulfilling, positive attachment they bring to us.
Ocassionally the flame has flickered in my favorite candle holder, like a bedeviled dancer, when a puff of air current has slipped in from above the glass of protection. A gust of wind from an open door or window, or the incessant molecular battery of air projected by a ceiling fan has extinguished the candle before I intended. Usually, like the laws of nature predict, when you blow on the flame correctly you will extinguish the flame of the candle.
I've spent Halloween, Christmas, July Fourth, and some lonely Saturday nights in the company of this old candle holder which I've had for almost twenty years. The ritual of lighting a candle and relaxing during an evening of soft light is one of my favorite modes for calming into sanity after a day's hectic requirements.
At some point in time, most likely during a relocation of the household, the outer amber glass was broken and luckily disposed of without any letting of blood. I was, however, greatly disappointed that the beautiful antique brass and glass candle holder had lost half its beauty and all of its safety features. Time wears on the natural world.
The candle holder lost its means of protecting me from the possible negative consequences of the flame of a taper candle. However, the candle holder was still functional and still had a unique meaning and beauty to me.
I treated it more carefully than before, making sure no candle was lit in a drafty location, and that no candle wax was likely to drip where it didn't belong.
Candle wax will come off many surfaces with the scraping of fingernails. Other surfaces, like gray carpet, will most likely be be permanently changed if red wax drips on it. When one chooses to enjoy the ancient luxuriously sensual charm of candlelight, one must be willing to suffer the consequences if inattention prevails at the wrong time.
Recently in Dallas, a young mother left her two babies at home while she ran to the store. She left the security of her children to a lit religious candle. This misguided woman has been jailed, and her children are at rest in the cemetary.
From tiny seeds great plants are sprouted, and so are poisonous weeds. I believe nothing is entirely good or evil in and of itself.
For all its beauty, our practices of enjoying candlelight in the age of electricity carry innate risks.
We now rely on the speed and efficiency of technology to fill our needs for light, warmth, and food preparation. We expect to turn a switch with the immediate response we expect. For those of the Twenty-first Century, this is common knowledge.
But in the common knowledge of what we expect from life today, have we lost the interest and ability to appreciate the beautiful artistic expression of the wavering and flickering of the flame of all sorts of tapers in all sorts of candleholders--all shapes and sizes? Life in the fast lane is not particularly conducive to metaphorical daydreams.
We live in this world as human containers with potential, much like the candles of different colors and sizes and odors reside in the candleholders of the world. They all need fire to work. We, too, have requirements in order to be able to function to our potential.
We need a strong physical base like the candle holder which sturdily supports its function as a unit. Those who experience great success in spreading the light of their own lives often have also a strong spiritual base.
Some people use their firey spirits to light the way for others, while others prefer the negative and destructive capability of fire.
As we interact with each other, we sometimes feel ourselves stained, or at least changed, by the intrinsic light of other human beings.
Drips of vanilla, cherry, cinnamon, musk, patcholi, sage, eucaluptus, and lemon, all their resplendent colors bedazzle an old wine bottle recycled as a home cooked Italian dinner accessory. Because I demanded its function at several semi-privater dinners over a short period of time, its life as an table acoutrament was short. The montage of colors, scents, and memories was disposed of when it could no longer function as a candle holder. Despite the beauty of the thing, it had lost its usefulness. I parted with it reluctantly.
I lost the friendship of the person who gifted me a very special candle holder. It is people, and not things, from which we humans take our strength--just a small thought to ponder in the darkness in which I find myself when a friend is gone.