Last year for Christmas, both my mother and younger brother treated me to sets of beautiful beeswax candles, iconically golden honey yellow, to use in my new glass candlestick holders, also gifted. Our family has long indulged in the beauty of natural lighting during many dinners, a manifestation in ambiance of the tradition of slowing down in the evening, coming together to share, and enjoy, a prepared meal. Over these months, I have nearly used only one single set of the candles; the rest lay in anticipation, silent in their original boxes. Though I have not checked in the nether regions of my closet in awhile, I can be nearly certain that a light coating of dust decorates the packaging, a metallic sheen that would be charming, were it not so dirty and disgusting.
The neglect stems not from ingratitude toward these gifts, or lack of desire to admire food by candlelight, but simply an incessant panic of schedule, of travel and hustle and attention to other, often inconsequential, detail. In other words, I blame work. Living the single life of a young working woman, meal as ritual, as social celebration, seems a lovely, albeit ridiculous, fantasy. Despite my inclinations for acquiring quaint dining accoutrements, my table remains cluttered and heavy with various general life detritus: rent statement, some letters, earrings awaiting repair and desperate for a touch of glue, some hosiery, library books, a notebook of two pathetic poems. Last night, home from the office late, I abandoned any wild ambitions of using my stove, ate a bowl of cold cereal, standing, shoeless, seemingly mindless.
This year, in addition to working to plan my meals in advance, actually cook some vegetables and some meat to avoid a feast of simple and sugary carbohydrates, I want to clear the crap, from table and from mind, and actually have a meal. Sometimes, the filmmaker will join me, sometimes, it will just be myself, but, regardless, it should be a quiet and pleasant moment, or moments, tranquil and with an added, simple pizazz. So, I will be on the look out for a few books of cardboard matches; then I can finally bring some more light in.
(image taken from A Well Traveled Woman)