As Winter Solstice approaches, the darker days are a powerful reminder that each of us must forge his own path into the light:


I generally avoid the Mall, but in early December I make my annual pilgrimage to Bath and Body Works for a triple-wick jar candle called “Winter.”  Its scent is a pleasing combination of wood smoke and tangy spices.  This year’s has already been burned a few times; the wicks are charred and there is a smudge of grey soot inside of the glass.  The candle itself is off-white, a color perhaps better described as ecru or eggshell or vanilla, but I am not one to split hairs over such trivialities.  The lid is missing and a fine layer of dust has accumulated on the top.
I blow into the jar to dislodge it and it swirls back around, hitting me squarely in the eyes, a reminder that dust is best left alone.  I touch
my lighter to each of the three wicks.  Tiny round balls of fire slowly elongate into teardrops, their bases a hazy blue fading into ultraviolet.  An orange halo glows around each wick and struggles to balance the ever-moving amber flame atop it.  I lose myself as I watch them dance.  Perfectly synchronized, they bobble in circles in response to the air current from the ceiling fan.  The scent intensifies as the wax melts
and pools, a comforting fragrance reminiscent of the incense used at Catholic High Masses like Christmas and Easter.  The spicy undertone might be frankincense or myrrh.  As I consider this possibility, I can almost smell the Wise Men opening their coffers and offering their
gifts to the Babe in the manger.  My mind shifts, and suddenly the jar becomes a microcosm for a much larger concept.  Three wicks, one candle.  Three colors, one flame.  Three small pools of wax slowly morphing into one.  It is the mystery of the Holy Trinity, explained.



Curls of cinnamon and clove
escape from the teapot and
collide with winter’s gloom
under the nose of an old Lab
who hibernates contentedly
in his worn dent in the sofa.

Fingers of midday sun
poke through the overcast
solstice sky and tap gently
on his still-brawny shoulder,
calling to him on a frequency
known to canines alone.

A dappled rectangle parks
on the ottoman and triggers
his daily pilgrimage; pulling
on elbow, he twists and shifts
bulky body and creaking hips
into its soothing warmth.

His grizzled black muzzle
snores on borrowed time,
so Christmas comes early.
I slip a plush football into
his arms; he sighs and hugs
the treasure to his chest.

He frolics not in the snow
of yesterday or tomorrow,
but simply basks in the glow
of this moment, absorbing its
energy, his black flank on fire
as the pot of tea goes cold.

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  1. humanitiesphilosophy December 20, 2015 / 12:37 am

    Earnest and True solstice beloved memory


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