Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Living light



Born in the summer, I love the light, the warmth, the long days.  I love easy, loose, light, cotton summer clothes, and going barefoot in the grass, sandals in the summer dust.

Winter has felt increasingly ominous and difficult to deal with until I discovered the secret of living light.

In a world of electric light, the darkness falls around four in the afternoon these winter days.  When we lived further north up in York, I remember the deepest time of the year would see dusk by half past one.

But when I am alone in the house I don’t always switch on the electric light, and then I enjoy noticing the different light in different rooms, depending which way the windows face.  I enjoy the half-light and silver light, the shy colours of the dawn, the occasional days of glorious brilliance and the moody times of purple storm cloud.

If I can have a fire in the woodstove or on the hearth (in the other room), and light the house with candles, the living light radiates vitality, as the burning wood and beeswax release the stored sunshine they contain.  

The quality of each living light is unique, too – candlelight and firelight are so different from each other . . . from starlight . . . from the clear pure light of the moon . . . from the ethereal beauty of the dawn.

Living light is so beautiful.



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365 Day 4 (if you don't know what I'm talking about, see here)



I can’t remember where this came from.  I acquired it when we lived in Aylesbury and I was trying to make the best of living far from my family under somewhat nightmarish circumstances.   It represented my determination to assert the cheerfulness and love of my (then) new marriage to the Badger.  I knocked a tack into a door to hang it on, our first Christmas there.
It’s a pretty little ornament but the memories it recalls are difficult.  Just married – should have been bliss, shouldn’t it?   Life ambushes us sometimes.   Anyway, I loved the Badger very much, and I love him and appreciate him more the longer and better I know him.   The real heart of love I will keep; the ornament can go.  It’s outlived its usefulness.

15 comments:

Linda said...

I have lived here in the mountains for 8 years. Usually where I live in NE Victoria it gets dark in winter at 5pm. This part of NE Victoria often has fog until 2.30 or sometimes 4.30 and the odd day all day. The few hours of sun are brilliant. We live in an open place with big windows so the winter is not so bad, the two big windows are on the north side with is the opposite to you, same as your south side. However, if someone turns off the light inside when I need one without asking it has an effect on me. I think it is because the houses in the 60s where the rainfall was 36" is was fairly dark. Also we lived in a snake area and I was taught to always be able to see where I put my feet. This house doesn't have snakes in the yard so far so I am trying to not worry about where I put my feet in the dark.

Linda said...

That makes sense about the heart.

Ember said...

Most of the other members of our household also like to have a good light when they come into a room :0) It's just me and Hebe like to pad about in the shadows.

Ganeida said...

A friend of mine, commenting on some written material I'd asked her to read, remarked I was obsessed with light; it's shades & naunces & shadows; the subtelties of colour, the slow leeching at dusk & dawn, through fog or mist or falling rain. I like the way it silently steals into a room & catlike slips away. I like how firelight & candlelight make the shadows dance & in the embers a burning world lives. So, yeah, I get you. ☺

Julie B. said...

With the exception of your first paragraph (because I was born in the fall of your same year) and the word York, I could have written word for word the first half of your post. (although not as well as you, of course). I am the only one in our house who likes dimmer light, waits until absolutely necessary to turn on a light, much prefers the light of a fire or candles. An old friend of mine came from CA recently to visit and after a few days she commented on it. She said she noticed that I kept the house fairly dark, and then I realized what it must seem like to someone else. And the worst lighting, to me, are the ones on the ceiling. If I must have light on in a room I want a small lamp on a table. Nice thoughts, Ember! (Verification word: matin!)

Ember said...

Hey - a society of Shades forming!

:0D

And yes - table lamps and wall lamps, rather than what the inimitable comedian Peter Kay refers to as "the Big light"!

xxx

Buzzfloyd said...

I like living light and the shades of darkness, but I can't see without strong light. So I'm happy to sit in the total gloom if all I'm doing is chatting, but if I am trying to eat my tea or change a nappy or look at something, I have to have strong light.

I have read that people with sensory processing problems (which I certainly have), as well as having an aversion to some sensory input, may require very strong input of some kinds, such as bright light or firm touch etc.

Ember said...

That's a very interesting point, Buzz!

Preferences, aversions and necessities . . .

I think the reason I read so little nowadays is that I think of reading as an evening thing, I can't see to read without strong light any more, but I don't like the strong light!

BLD in MT said...

This is a very outstanding post. I am too born in the summer and crave the light. It is my largest complaint about my current house....too few windows to let in the glorious light.

You've inspired me to light candles again. Matt and I stopped the practice years ago after a mishap involving an unattended candle and wax all over tarnation. But, I think perhaps I am in a more focused, centered place now and might be up for the responsibility again. I love what you said about releasing the sunshine through the melting beeswax. Brilliant. Hooray for bees! Hooray for sunshine!

I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Ember said...

Hi Beth. I am a very cautious person, and the risks of candles and fires unattended are large and serious. Everywhere I have lived the carpet has a hole or two burned in it, and I recognise that was me getting off lightly! I mostly therefore now burn night-lights in metal cases, in containers with heatproof bases, and even then sometimes blow them out if I will be leaving the house or going to bed lest some unforeseen mishap could occur.
Enjoy the candles again and stay safe :0) x

BLD in MT said...

I shall have to keep my eye out for some agreeable, safe containers at the thrift shop. That does seem a good balance between beauty and safety.

Ember said...

:0) Yep. Good girl x

Ember said...

Don't like to think of you dancing in your beauteous swirl cloak near a naked flame ;0)

BLD in MT said...

I hadn't even thought of THAT! : )

Ember said...

:0)