Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Lighting the Dark
It is a tradition to make candles for the solstices. In the summer, I like to think of capturing all the glorious summer light, and in the winter about lighting up the wintery days. I feel that the dark days are a metaphor for the emotional dark days of life. In the midst of it, you feel as if it will always be dark. The solstice whispers of light and change and hope.
I used to make candles from pure beeswax for many years. The melting wax gently warms and scents the house of honey as dozens of long-burning candles are turned out of the mold. Last year I read about using a combination of tallow and beeswax out of Shannon Hayes's book Long Way On a Little. This year, our summer solstice candles were long burnt up during story times and bed times, and with an abundance of tallow now on hand, we got out our roll of wick and candle mold and began melting first the old nubs of candles (we save each one, nothing goes to waste), and added several spoonfuls of creamy white tallow.
The candles look creamy and beautiful enough to eat. They burn with a beautiful light, like a little bit of a sun ray passing through a prism. It seems like you can see the light of the summer grass and flowers from the bees and the peaceful and fat grazing cattle.
Yesterday was one of those crazy days. No one had gotten enough sleep the (we stayed up too late reading!), and our plumbing had started backing up into the kitchen sink the night before. Ethan had to army-crawl under the house with an angle grinder and do some serious plumbing magic. He also insulated the hot water pipes, which were surprisingly uninsulated (it's only to be expected, really. It's an old house, but it was the stucco, cookie-cutter version of it's time).
Up above, everyone spent all day fighting and yelling at each other about stupid things. We were going to sing carols and make snow flakes and read a solstice story, but instead I just spent all day mediating battles. You should have heard Rose screaming and thrashing when we were trying to sing 'Silent Night.' It was irony in action. From under the house, Ethan heard it all and said he felt lucky to be the one in the 18" crawl space for once.
That's why it's so important to be flexible with home schooling! Yes, we had fun things I spent time planning, but it was obviously time to scrap it all and just go outside. The outdoors seems to have therapeutic effects for crazy days of that nature. It didn't really help that much, but at least being outside dilutes the sound, and everyone has more space and air to breathe.