Archipelago

We’re moving steadily and certainly from Samhein to Yule. What Dylan Thomas called “the close and holy darkness” enfolds us a little bit earlier every evening, making the spot of light from your lamp, fireplace, or candleflame into a precious island — a warm, safe spot in the ocean of night.

I’ve always loved driving past houses at night and seeing the light in windows. Maybe it’s me being nosy, loving the glimpse of someone’s living room or kitchen that’s not visible during the day. Maybe it’s the comfort of knowing there are others around — families sitting down to eat, an old man reading by the fireside, a pair of lovers kissing before they close the curtains. And maybe it’s just the joy of an archipelago — lots of tiny islands.

I’ve noticed that this year my neighbors are decorating for Yule quite early. And normally, I complain. “It ruins the whole season when they start it so early! By the time it comes, I’m sick of it.” But this year, I don’t mind. I understand. We all need some light, and safety, and warmth this year.

May it be so for you.

Picture found here.

4 responses to “Archipelago

  1. I wish I could like this twice! In my newlywed days, in the Army – both of us serving in the walled city of West Berlin – we rode a bus to our jobs on “Teufelsberg” on rotating shifts. Almost all the rides to and from in winter were in the dark. I had FAVORITE windows in houses and apartments! The glow of a beautiful sun-like globe lamp, or dramatic lacy curtains shimmered by a very faint light, a candelabra like chandelier here and jungle of backlit hanging plants there! Islands, indeed, against the fall of a long night!

  2. I feel the same about those lights in windows. And when driving in the country at night here, I also love the tiny lights of faraway houses on the hillsides.

  3. One of the Joys of Yule for me is listening to a recording of Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales. The line you quote is the last sentence in the “pome”. “I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept”. If you ever can listen to him read the whole poem you will love it. It paints such a lovely picture of the day from his perspective as a boy. It’s humorous and irreverent and fun.
    I found it on a vinyl album and my friend Bob Fitch and I did a little production of it on tape…with bits of carols at appropriate times. I had heard some like it on radio several years before on Christmas Day.

  4. Whether they were Goethe’s last words or not (and how he meant them if they were) “More light!”

    My candles are in the window, tiny points of flame.

    Brightest blessings to all.

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