Disclaimer for people with a tendency to think too deeply: The title of this post is not a metaphor for anything. You are not about to read a post about how goodness is the strongest in the face of evil or some such thing. The title refers simply to candles and how nice they look in the dark. That is all.

A week ago the weather here in Brussels was sunny with 23°C. That was the week-end. As we moved into a new week temperatures plummeted and grey clouds moved in to occupy the skies with steely determination. The wind picked up and the drenched us. Autumn is finally here.

Autumn brings on dark thoughts and melancholy moods. The sun no longer provides us with enough light. We do not sit on terraces with friends or take long leisurely walks through the park. Instead we rush through murky streets, our heads bent to protect us from the rain. Not only do we lack precious light and vitamins, but we also lack the intimate human communication which is easier when the person one is talking to is not obscured by darkness/curtains of rain/fog/hair blowing in front of ones eyes. In want of better things to do we are left with our own thoughts for company, and that can be a dangerous thing. As darkness encloses ones home thoughts easily move to the pointlessness and insignificance of oneself and ones aspirations. The clamour of joyful people no longer drowns out the deepening voices of doubt.

This is why we need candles. And hot drinks. And Christmas. Autumn may be a melancholy month but even this grey cloud has its silver lining:

  • Warm drinks are best enjoyed right after coming in from a blizzard. When one feels frozen to the core nothing beats the comfort of wrapping ones hands around a large mug of something warm, whether it is coffee, hot chocolate, tea or warm apple juice.
  • Candles shine best in the dark. Nobody can argue with that.
  • Flames dancing in a fireplace are the perfect combination of beautiful, fascinating and extremely cosy. But it is when contrasted with the cold and dark outside that a fireplace really comes into its own. 
  • Warm woollen clothes are no good on the beach, but your favourite big sweater feels perfectly comforting in the dark months of winter. And when walking out into the chilly wind with a comfy knit cap over your head, you feel ready to take on anything (even if your hair is now somewhat flattened).
  • Christmas. Do I need to say more?