21 July 2018

In the Light of Fire

Man pondered in the soothing sound of night.
He contemplated of hunting, for body and mind.

I was lying in bed unable to fall asleep while extremely tired. My restless mind was begging for entertainment. So, I got up to entertain it.

A candle made out of fat was unkown to me, and that was what my mind asked for. Tallow I had plenty, but for a wick I used a piece of fabric. I poured some tallow into a small cup with the fabric in the middle. Now it was time to test it. I grabed a lighter, and bam! Not only my mind was amused, two things happened as a result.

The smoke of the burning fat had a good scent to it. It smelt of kebabs. Then I came to the realisation that the “kebab scent” is actually the smell of burning fat. When you put meat on a grill, the fat starts to render slowly. The fat drippings fall on hot charcoals making smoke along with a “fsst” sound. That’s when the beautiful scent touches the nose.

The other thing that happened as a consequence of playing with the most primitive lighting was that questions found a place in my sleepless mind.

We didn’t have enough time to adapt to these LED lamps, my mind argued. But to this light of fire, we had plenty of time to adjust.

What will happen if I use candles after sunset instead of modern lamps? What will happen if I do that for a week with the candles that I can make? What will happen if I also put my phone away, and only read paper books in the light of the burning fat?


The time-to-sleep signalling of our brains are messed up by too much light during night. Maybe sleep regulation could improve if one was supposed to use much little light in the evening.

Of course that is an extreme challenge that I shall consider taking one day. However, I’ve been doing something of a simpler nature every so often. A few hours before sleep I turn off the lights, and light my candle. Then I sit, and gaze at it. “Contemplation with the company of fire,” is what I’d like to call it. Not much can be articulated about its peculiar magic, except that I find it a very fascinating form of meditation. Sometimes the fire speaks with wonderful dances. But one should listen carefully. And when the ritual is over, one must bow to the fire before putting it off.

Assume you are a primitive man. You sleep early at night, and wake up at sunrise, for you are not enslaved by modern technology. Most importantly, you have to make good use of daylight before it’s night again. Such difficulty of primitive life could make every single day a treasure. Or in other words, it could open one’s eyes to the value of every single day. Therefore, you have to live in a manner to make the best of the day. Because if you don’t use the light wisely, soon the dark will rise.