December 21, 2013

“Life moves pretty fast.  You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Beuler

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Solstice candle tradition

It sometimes takes losing something to truly appreciate it.  On the shortest day of the year we celebrate light by being in the dark.

I want my children to appreciate the marvel that is artificial light, and all the comforts and wonders that they take for granted.  So each year at sundown of Solstice, we turn out all electrical lights.  It really is amazing to realize that for most of human history, this is how people interacted with the night.

We have a few exceptions, we allow christmas lights, flashlights, and screens.  We usually have a fire and watch a movie.  Bedtime comes early without the extended day of electric light.  Even the brightest portable lantern is different than an overhead light.  Many times during the night we have to stop ourselves from reaching for a switch.  We’ve had to be cautious using candles with a very accident-prone preschooler in the house (he gets a flashlight).  The dark inspires the imagination.  Tonight a question bubbled up- how did vampires react to electric light when it was introduced?  That would make an interesting story.

One of these days we’ll be brave enough to cut off all devices and the internet too.

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