The rain is coming. It’s not due until later but a mass of heavy clouds is piling up in the east. We need the rain; the blueberries are already dying. I leave some windows open, the ones sheltered by overhanging roof. The wind is rising and brings the smell of rain. It passes through the house and the colored candle lanterns sway. I burn gravljus in the lanterns when Em is away.
Gravljus: grave lights; candles in small plastic jars that we light for the dead in the cemeteries on All Saints Day. I use the gravljus for practical reasons; they are larger than tea lights, they last longer and burn brighter. They resist the wind.
When I am alone and afraid of the world and the worst thing I can imagine is that Em will not come home, I imagine the lanterns are tiny lighthouses to guide him safely back. I pretend, as long as they glow orange and red, that his plane cannot crash, that there will not be a bomb or a train wreck or an earthquake, that his hotel will not catch fire, that there will be no stupid and senseless accident. I don’t believe that lighting a candle will keep him safe; nothing has the power to keep an implacable, uncaring universe at bay. Sometimes I just need to pretend.