The power went off at ten to ten the other night. Nothing too strange about that. When your city is plagued with occasional thunderstorms, this is a normal occurence. That we had the wettest September day in nearly a hundred years the other day, well, you half expect the power will go out for a short while. Which it did. When there are big thunderstorms in Melbourne, blackouts are pretty inevitable.
I find that the power always goes off when there is something you really have to do, or, there is something that you want to watch on the telly, which you will then miss, or your recording device won't function and you're left a little disappointed. The other night was no different. I was looking forward to my nerdy geneology show. I wanted to do the ironing. I was all amped up to do some editing.
Everything goes black.
Everything goes silent.
I have the dim glare of my laptop staring back at me - the only light in the room.
Thankfully, I'm the sort who has a lot of candles around the place, not that I use them much. Using the light from my iPhone screen (fantastic proxy torch), I made my way to the kitchen and retrieved some matches from the third drawer down - where all useful crap is kept. Back in the lounge room I lit a couple of tea lights.
I've forgotten how lovely candlelight can be. I couldn't tell you the last time I lit the candles, sat down and relaxed. I know that most of the candles that sit on my bookshelf have a story to them. The one in the tin that came with the 12wbt goody bag. There are two painted ceramic tealight holders, the pretty ones that Max passed on to me last time I was round at her place - she said she was out of her hippy phase now. The plethora of interesting candle holders that Sam has given me over the years, the beeswax candles Popeye gave me for my birthday the other year... there's a bit of a theme here.
Why do these people give me candles? Don't they think I have enough light in my life?
Going into the bedroom, I take the lit beeswax candle with me and light the large white candle that sits next to my bed in a large glass holder. I've had this for years. An old work mate gave me the candle holder many years ago. From memory, the last time I remember lighting this candle was when my last boyfriend was about - some four years ago - the night Kevin Rudd took office. (I really have to do something about that situation). It can't be that long ago...
The great thing about candles, it doesn't take much for them to work. Unlike torches, they don't need batteries.
All you need is a match and you have light.
The power remained off for over an hour. Strangely, it appears it was only affecting our street as the neighbouring block had light.
I put myself into bed and read by the light of three candles. After about half an hour, I took a couple of candles to the bathroom and had a shower - this was rather nice. I used to love having a bath by candlelight, but as I've only got a shower where I live at the moment, I have to make do. Bathing by candle light brought back memories of a holiday in Bali, where the bathroom, clean, but rustic had really low light. There was something sensual about the whole experience - that along with drinking a cold beer for breakfast on my balcony and living by a swimming pool for a week.
Ablutions finished, teeth cleaned I made my way to bed, the candles flickering as I listened to my iPod and waited. And waited.
Memories of other moments lit by candles came back to me. One of the mason's rituals, done exclusively by candlelight - can't say any more than that - other that it was an amazing experience. Time with one particular friend, whisky in one hand, legs brushing each others occasionally. He was the one who would light the candles. Nothing ever happened. Tease.
Then there are the times I've used candles for ritual work. Candle dowsing. Looking for answers in the light... another subject for another blog. It's too near the witching hour to be witchy.
The power came back on eventually. The candles were exinguished. This must be done - its responsible. It's the rules.
It was just strange to think that a simple black out could bring up so much.