In this fast-paced digital age, where not even with a touch of a button, but merely a cursory flick of a finger across a screen, our busy lives are planned, ordered, documented and displayed, it is vital to reconnect with the simpler things in life, to ground the soul. And what could be simpler than wax and wick? Candlelight – the age-old method of lighting by the humble candle, used by humankind for millennia, is so much more soulful than the stark electric lighting we all have become so used to in modern times.
Maybe it is a quiet dinner for two, to celebrate the simple fact that it’s Friday night and the working week is over, the dinner is elevated by having a classic candelabra upon the dining table, or maybe a few dainty tea-lights dotted around, glass and metallic reflections prettifying the scene. Having friends around for a drinks is made that little bit more intimate and relaxed if a couple of striking wall sconces have been lit, illuminating a passageway, or enhancing a focal point, a picture maybe, or casting gently flickering reflections off a well placed mirror.
A dinner party is often completed with the lighting of a majestic candelabra as a centre piece, or sentry symmetrical candlesticks around the dining room to add a sense of drama, or if you are lucky enough to be outside, a smatter of humble tea-lights and a couple of reassuring-looking hurricane lamps upon the table, illuminating the garden with a delightful dance of light and shadow on leaves, glasses and faces.
And not forgetting the ultimate indulgence, unassuming, yet entrancing tea-lights around the bath, the combination of the warmth of both light and water, soothes all the senses, sending you to a sensual sanctuary, bliss, even if it’s just for half an hour, before reality kicks back in, and you’re dried and dressed, as you realise that you have to…
…Oh no, the power’s gone off…where are the matches? Have you got them? Good… are the children okay? They’re asleep? Phew… What shall we do…? Um… Finish my book, yes… What a treat…
There is something wonderful about resigning to the lack of electricity in our modern full throttle-paced lives. From personal experience, when enforced candlelight has resulted in early evening improvisation and game-playing with the children, their fresh faces beautifully illuminated by the soft and gentle light allowing you to appreciate them, their innocence and the wholesome moment itself, reminding you that this was what family life was like up until relatively recent times, spent together – parlour games, joshing, love and laughter.
And then, later, after a clumsy yet charming dimly-lit junior bed-time, reading and chatting with my husband in the half-light, there is almost a disappointment when the house suddenly beeps, whirs and dazzles back into electric life, although you are relieved because of the freezer… And, you both agree, then, that it would actually be nice to spend more evenings like that, rekindling that sense of simple togetherness that the natural occurrence of nightfall coupled with the unusual lack of modern conveniences had created, just for a short time. Candles, then, although no longer a necessity in our everyday lives, enhance wellbeing. Candles both light and warm you, body and soul.