Good Candlemas (27)

nasturtiums, bougainvillea

I light five candles for the pagan holiday today, pick flowers from our courtyard garden. They are still out on the patio table. I peeked at them a bit ago, watching them through the kitchen window, something reassuring and ancient about the look of those five flames lighting the dark. It’s been like early summer in the middle of our Palm Springs winter, that delicious evening air that feels like velvet against your skin. Or maybe you are the velvet—it is hard to know. It reminds me of one evening years ago sitting in the warm pool at Tassajara, the water and the air and my skin all one temperature so you couldn’t tell where one began or ended, the closest I have ever felt to being literally one with air and sky and water. The days have grown warmer than I’d choose, wanting as I am to push summer off as long as I can, but how can I complain about this evening air? It is like January in Ajijic, bare feet braced against the railing of my third floor roost, my northern Californian self almost gloating. I was barefoot in January. Now seven winters later I am spoiled in this. But still, I want to linger, wallow in the sweet, soft ease of it. Happy Candlemas, everyone.

five tealight candles, flowers, orange metal bird

February 1st, Candlemas Eve (26)

The sky is beautiful this evening, that brief blaze of orange clouds in the last light of the sun, long gone from our valley but only now disappearing below that unseen horizon. I walk outside the gate to see more sky and spin, head thrown back. The waxing moon, almost full, surprises me. I spot the evening star setting in the west, Venus, I think. It’s as though a line connects her to the rising moon. Are they talking to each other? Later I write with the sliding glass door wide open, and I can see the star poised above the dark shape of the mountain, a sleeping beast, Venus wide awake and calling. It is Candlemas eve, Imbolc eve, the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, the turning of the earth, the waxing of the light. Already we can feel the days growing longer. What sweeter way to mark the return of the light than with this bright circle of moon and her star companion, buddies in the early night?