Friday, March 29, 2013

Candle on the Window

Today, I worked hard to create a lovely space in my bedroom for lying on the floor (on my very soft rug), studying or perhaps enjoying a pleasant novel.  All that was needed for the perfect ambiance to add to my most recent Kindle acquisition was a nice lavender-scented candle, in its pretty glass holder.  I spent a very happy interlude with my book on the floor, then went off to the kitchen for a glass of water.  When I returned, less than two minutes later . . .

The candle somehow reached a temperature hot enough to send flames leaping from the glass holder.  Concerned for the safety of my bedroom, I tried to blow it out, but the flames happily lapped up my expelled breath and grew larger.  Thinking rapidly, I became aware of the glass of water in my hand.  Now, I am smart enough to know that pouring the whole thing on the fire would have likely ended badly, so I instead opted to slowly dribble a bit of water on the fire, hoping to shrink it down gradually and calmly.  What happened next was a massive sizzling, followed by some spitting and hissing (it sounded not unlike an angry stray cat), followed by an explosion of glass, wax, and fire.  My glasses and window were splattered by the wax and the glass had enough force to send some of it more than three feet away.  As I opened the window to release the billowing smoke afterwards, I observed a moment of silence for the ten years of my life that fled in panic during the explosion.  An hour later, my hands were still shaking!

Who knew that cheap candles could be so dangerous???

All that remains of my dearly departed candle.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"