Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Light of the Night

"Candlelight does not lift the covers over the one who is lost alone in the past or present;  it lifts the covers of the faces that remain beside you as you sit or lie awake late into the night, witnessing their bodies melting drop by drop.

The candle is the light in liquid shape, is a light inside night, or light weeping, or light wiping its eyes with the edge of a distant star, or light dressed in a nightgown, or night when its desires have awoken . . ."

By Ali Ahmed Said Esber (adonis) translated from Arabic. A contemporary poet, he was born in western Syria in 1930.  Other writings  can be seen here..

Candles have long been lighting the dark of nights: from reeds coated in tallow by the Egyptians, beeswax in the middle ages (which burned cleaner than tallow), boiled bayberries' wax in colonial times, spermaceti wax (crystallized sperm whale oil), to modern paraffin -- with stearic acid added, made from oil and coal shales, to raise the melting point.

Find some sand on the beach of ocean or river and build a fire, preferably at night for nice shadows.
Place paraffin or old candles in a metal coffee can on the fire to melt it (paraffin used to be in every grocery store because the ladies would use it melted to seal the jars of processed food for storage in the cellar. Since the advent of nice self-sealing lids on Ball jars the old method is not used much anymore.)
Take a stick or the wine bottle you brought and poke holes in the sand into which the melted wax is poured. When wax is hardened, remove from the beach.  Wicks can be added later with a drill bit for a hole into which they are placed.
The sand sticks to the wax to make the infamous Sand-Cast Candle (not sold in stores).
We still have one made in the black sand of the western Columbia river north of Portland Oregon:

We were not sure why the sand was dark there but posited that perhaps further upstream near the Columbia River, volcanic action may have taken place previous.


  1. Any small light in the darkness is a good thing. If I ever walk a sandy shore line again why not stop and make a candle or three.

  2. Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. I think that's an old Chinese proverb. I like your combination of the quote and the little diy project and the intriguing picture. Also, thanks for pointing out my error in my piece (80 not 800 grit sandpaper) so politely. Cheers.

  3. Well, that didn't work very well. I deleted a few hundred spam comments and managed to delete some comments I wished to leave here.
    I am going to comment moderation since there are those who cannot live in a world with mutual respect for others, and must invade propriety with anonymous comments.

  4. I love the lit of a candle in the middle of darkness. I could just stare at it and feel relaxed.Good to read your post and nice that someone thought of it as a topic.

    Great day ahead!

  5. Always wondered how they did that...


    p.s. You asked on my website where I live. The answer to that is Northeast Minneapolis, a fabulous, artsy kinda place with a handful of scofflaws here and there...

  6. Your candle light drew me in. I love lighting candles and was intrigued by your sand candle making project.

  7. Candle fire,
    sucking desire,
    wrapping in the blades of redgold, sharp and warm.

  8. I love how you brought candle to a new dimension

  9. I went a few years in my life without power and the candle was my light into my nights of reading. I would read till 3 am often with just glimmer. Only keeping focus by the words that kept me awake in the world of books. But then came power and year later the internet gone is the world of books and my flickering candles. Hah I didn't use to be a morning person. I was so a night owl. But this last year especially in California I was up many morning to finally witness the sunrises. Something I had only witnessed maybe 5 times in my life before this past winter. It is another dimension in my life now to wake "sometimes" early in the mornings.