Here at my upstate New York home Hurricane Sandy showed up with just a bit of wind and rain. The storm missed us. But it did not miss people dear to me, south of my location. An especially dear one has chosen to remain in her home, getting about during the day, but sitting in darkness at night with just a small flashlight nearby. Batteries are scarce so she is frugal with the light, and the density of darkness can take a toll. During one of the rare moments that our phones connected I tried to tell her about a way to bring a warm light into her home, using a method that worked well for me long ago.
In my early twenties I lived outdoors for months at time, camping. Nights were dark. I came up with a solution to the darkness that was quite lovely. I don’t know why, but I have never been able to get anyone to even try it. I am hoping it might work for her.
The lone candle is the obvious solution to darkness, but it just doesn’t work all that well. Not only does it feel like a fire hazard, it also illuminates brightly in one spot, near the wick, and doesn’t cast this brightness evenly. What I used to do, then, is to place a candle in a “foggy” plastic container: the kind of container that people store food in.
When a candle is in one of these foggy containers, the light become diffuse, which nicely illuminates a room. When I was camping, I would use it to walk from place to place: the container protected the candle from blowing out. The higher up I would hold or place the containered candle, the better was the light.
To keep the candle upright I would melt candle wax on to a bottle top then place the candle into the hot wax, so that it would attach.. This gives the candle a flat surface to hold on to, and added weight to the bottom of the candle.
When the candle is as tall as the container, it actually sheds less light. As the candle melts down the illumination becomes brighter.
I hope this post can bring some light into some dark nights. And I hope there are not too many more dark nights.
Here’s to light!