When It’s Dark

candleThis week is predicted to be one of the coldest this year. The meteorologists are calling for caution, and social media is beginning to be flooded with screenshots of people’s weather apps. “Look!” we say. “It is nine degrees here. I can prove it to you with my screenshot.” Someone answers with the inevitable “five-day forecast” screenshot, displaying the projected high of minus ten.

This morning I came downstairs into the dark to find that we’d left a candle burning all night.

Yesterday I was fighting with this candle. It seemed useless to me. I had to dump out wax a few times to get it to stay lit, and I was about to throw it in the trash. But at last it had submitted to its purpose, begrudgingly holding onto a flame for a few hours last evening as we settled in for the night. But the flame was small enough that my husband didn’t notice it burning as he closed up the house late last night.

So it was the smallness and stubbornness of this flame that preserved it, and that preserved us. As people. As homeowners.

I left it burning as I began my day. It is small and steady enough; it poses no danger. For now.