Candlelit Stormwatch

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The sky is that sickening shade of gray, portending something ferocious and massive. It rolls in slowly, setting up for the long haul, and there is surely something to be said for the calm before the storm. It’s a strange calm, though, one riddled with tension and excitement: impending doom and impending thrill all at once.

If you’re lucky, you have somewhere safe to see it through, some mostly impenetrable fortress where the strongest gusts of wind may only rattle and moan, but the cold and the damp stays at bay until it passes. I’m lucky.  Our place in Boston – at the end of a line of brownstones – is such a refuge, and it’s seen me through a number of storms. The heavy brick walls, and the ideal second floor location – raised from the ground, but still buffered by another floor above – lend it a cozy feel. During times of inclement weather, it is a safe haven.

In the window, a candle flickers, undulating with the subtle shifting of air. No matter how hard the wind blows from outside, it will not go out. No matter how much snow falls from above, it will keep a steady light. In our relatively small condo, it also provides a source of heat. Do not underestimate the power of this.

In my first winter there, before there were any curtains or stockpile of heavy blankets, I filled the bedroom with a multitude of tea-lights, and was pleasantly surprised by the heat they gave off. In addition to the soft, glowing light, they soon filled the space with their gentle heat. It is one of my warmest memories, in a sea of such warmth, and I think of that every time I light a candle now.

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