Clyde: What lights the distance?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 29, 2020

By Clyde

Sometimes, it seems the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel gets a little dimmer and a little farther way, but without that single, solitary glow in the upstairs window still shining through the rippled window pane, we would all be lost.

“The day is cold and dark and dreary. It rains, and the wind is never weary. Into each life some rain must fall. Some days must be dark and dreary,” wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Mr Revere had a bright idea. A single candle — candela in Latin, lights the way.

Leviticus 24:4 says, “He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.” The eternal flame.

Our Jewish friends light the menorah to end the passover darkness. The Anglicans even celebrate “Candlemas.” Groundhogs come out of the dark hibernation only to be shot — by a camera of course. Look for your shadow even on a moonlit night.

Votives express a vow, wish or desire in gratitude or devotion. That gladsome light has enlightened our forefathers to study, compose, write, paint or even live without ever knowing electricity or the internet. The luminist painters did not work in milliseconds.

Who would last in a blackout or a pandemic? Which party gets to decide? Are we prisoners of the grid? Can we unlearn what we were so eager to know. Lead kindly light.

A foot candle can be measured in a parking lot and a lumen is “the united of flux equal to light emitted by a uniform point source of one candle intensity.” Not too bright.

Scented candles stink up the whole black. Of course, you would need a match to start with. A French world in 1549, “mache” was a chemically prepared wick or cord formerly used in firing firearms or powder. By 1791, match stickers were wooden. Try to find one today.

The fervor of people who collected matchbooks has all but burned out, leaving only the burning question: to vape or not to vape?”

What fools have lighted the way to dusty death? We have run the gamut from whale oil blubber to bees wax to kerosene wicks to parlor gasoliers powered by an outside delco to the brightest idea ever: the incandescent bulb. A few still contend that turning off a simple switch could save the whole world a little change.

What light through yonder window breaks? Is it the plastic pillar with a switch on the bottom and with a contrived flicker that is a sad substitute symbolizing the sign of superficiality?

Where is the ambiance?

When you light a slender taper, it seems like a conversation with someone from the past, a warm shroud of sepia as the twilight of our years go dim.

Who’s counting?

So, next time you drag out the pain of candleabara, which is plural of candleabrum, whether they are sterling silver or just silver-plated or whether it’s a small, pink birthday wish on a cupcake or even a grandiose candlelight dinner in our own little tour d’ivoire, don’t forget to look toward the brightness.

Sing along now:

This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, no!

Where would be be without it?

Revelations 22:5 says, “And there shall be no night there and they need no candle.” Put out the light when you leave.

Clyde lives in Salisbury.

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