A candle against the roar

Coffee is perking in the kitchen, and the aroma of hazelnut cream fills the house. One lamp glows in the living room, pushing back the premature grey that presses against the windows.  I’m wearing a warm fleece robe. It’s quiet and peaceful–inside the house.

Outside, in wind gusts up to 40 miles an hour, the trees and even the smaller shrubs are twisting and turning in a frantic dance, flinging water collected from the daylong rains. The incessant wind plays distressing counterpoint to the quiet snufflings of Lady sleeping on the couch. What should be an evening painted in the gold of a setting sun is instead a gloomy, glowering murk.

On my chairside table a candle burns, a blessed candle,

Monica Sawyn Photo

Monica Sawyn Photo

the stub of  one that once burned on the altar at Mass. I usually light it at prayer time; now, it flickers a silent prayer to ward off any harm the storm may be contemplating, a prayer that the winds will abate by the time George heads home from tonight’s performance at Peninsula Players.

The candle isn’t an indication of any untoward fear on my part. Its warm glow is a companion, much like a campfire. In the firearms safety classes I taught years ago, that’s what we told the kids to do if they should get lost: stay where they are, set up an emergency shelter, build a fire, both for warmth and for companionship. It’s not so lonely, we told them, when a fire is flickering at your side.

I’m not lonely, and I’m not worried. But the flame IS friendly, its steady glow a contrast to the bursts of angry wind. And it’s blessed, a reminder that God waits with me, and walks with George and with anyone else who might have to be out on a night like this.

I could turn on the television and prowl through the Amazon Prime offerings, but that would somehow be intrusive. I prefer to drown out the wind with words, here on this page, eventually in the book

Monica Sawyn photo

Monica Sawyn photo

I’m reading, and probably in the psalms of Evening Prayer. Electric noise just doesn’t seem appropriate. The storm is too elemental. It’s best counteracted with other basic elements, like fire, and thoughts, and the house’s silence. How can it be silent in here when I can hear the wind’s roar outside? Tonight, the silence is another sort of companion.

In another two or three hours, George will be home and it will be time for sleep. In the morning, the air will be fresh, and, if predictions are correct, the sun will no longer hide behind overcast skies. Birds, their feathers finally dry, will flock at the feeders, and the chipmunks will come begging to the door.

And tonight’s wind–where will it be? Will it be churning on someone else’s doorstep, or will it have used itself up, tamed into a toothless breeze by the vagaries of weather patterns? I won’t care. It will be a new day, with a new personality, and I’ll enjoy whatever it brings.


About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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