Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with leading you on a meandering tour of the virtual garden of delights and curiosities and thoughts that make up my world – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
L is for…
luciform: (adj) like light; having in some respects, the nature of light; resembling light
Poet Theodore Roethke wrote: “Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”
I’m profoundly moved by that image, and it makes me want to celebrate light in all its forms.
I love candles. My home is filled with them; there’s at least one on every altar, and I burn them frequently. I especially love lighting them in thanksgiving, as a little expression of gratitude. Simple, easy, beautiful.
One of the things I’m most grateful in my life is how joy shows up in delicious, fun ways. And for me poetry and art are two of those joy sources. Which is why I absolutely delight in this poem by Billy Collins entitled Candle Hat.
“In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates: Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes, Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness, Rembrandt looks relieved as if he were taking a breather from painting The Blinding of Sampson. But in this one Goya stands well back from the mirror and is seen posed in the clutter of his studio addressing a canvas tilted back on a tall easel. He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head which is fitted around the brim with candle holders, a device that allowed him to work into the night. You can only wonder what it would be like to be wearing such a chandelier on your head as if you were a walking dining room or concert hall. But once you see this hat there is no need to read any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates. To understand Goya you only have to imagine him lighting the candles one by one, then placing the hat on his head, ready for a night of work. Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention, the laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow. Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house with all the shadows flying across the walls. Imagine a lost traveler knocking on his door one dark night in the hill country of Spain. “Come in, ” he would say, “I was just painting myself,” as he stood in the doorway holding up the wand of a brush, illuminated in the blaze of his famous candle hat.”
Isn’t that wonderful? Don’t you want the joy of a candle hat? You can have a peek at Goya’s Self-Portrait in the Workshop here. I of course would want my candles bigger and fatter, and no doubt I’d have to exercise my neck muscles to be able to support the vision I have. But thank you Goya for the invention that helped you extend your passion for painting well into the night, and thank you Billy Collins for painting with your words such a glorious scene. I’m grateful to you both today.
Speaking of light and things that make me smile, I can’t help but share something else.
For just about forever (well at least 20 years) I’ve done a Halloween mailing – an annual slightly auto-biographical one-panel (aka a postcard) adventure highlight in the life of my alter ego Pumpkin Girl. One of the things I love best about Pumpkin Girl is that she has a her own tongue-in-cheek tagline, as all semi-super-heroines should have don’t you think? Her’s is “well-rounded and lit from within.”
Here’s a peek at her and some of her friends:
What about you? Do you light candles with intention? Are you a hat person? Like working late into the night? Consider yourself well-rounded? Do tell – you know I love to hear.