I have a vision. A vision to bring back the timeless warmth of the home. A vision to introduce my generation to real living, which has been robbed of us in this cold day of efficient technology. I’m not at all against technology, but I do believe that too much of our culture is focused on efficiency rather than cultivating beauty and warmth in the home. As Maesimund Panchos once put it:
A stranger to our culture observing our commercial eating places might conclude that eating requires a stopwatch.
And it doesn’t stop at eating. We are more concerned with making everything ‘fast and efficient’, and less concerned with savoring the moment and cultivating relationships. We live in a world of speed at the cost of the things that really matter.
As I considered this great lacking in our culture, read books which mentioned it, and discussed it with friends, I came to write this (fictional) essay some weeks ago.
The words caught my eye as I stood before a broad display of candles, trying to choose a gift for a new neighbor.
I picked up the candle and smelled as my eyes fell upon another further down the shelf. “French Vanilla”
I began reading the names as I walked slowly down the row.
“Fir & Cedar”
All of the names sounded so warm, so inviting, so homey. I remember my grandmother’s house smelling like that. But those smells came from warm cobbler in the oven, freshly baked cookies laid out to cool, and a warm fire crackling around the cedar logs I’d split for her in the fall.
Sometimes the house would have the fragrance of lilacs wafting upon the sun-warmed breeze that made the curtains dance as it blew through the open windows. I remember the smell of moss as I picked up hazelnuts in autumn, the spicy scent of fir boughs in the winter, and the hazy, warm smell of hay in the summer as I sat on the board fence and watched the men harvest the fields.
I used to watch Grandmother hang up baskets of wet laundry in the sun and later help her take the clothes down again, sweet smelling and warm from the sun’s gentle rays.
We didn’t need to burn candles to make our house smell like home. Grandma did burn candles– but they were homemade. The everyday ones were made from her own tallow, and for special occasions she made bayberry tapers.
But now, something has changed.
We’ve let beauty and harmony be banished in the name of convenience and efficiency. After all, I can’t imagine that someday women will be spraying their homes with fragrances called “Microwave Dinner” or “Electrical Heating”. Why do we think we can give our homes the illusion of real living — the way Grandma’s house was– by burning a chemically formulated simulation of the real thing? Have we become as artificial as that?
I set the candle down and decided to bake a pie for my neighbors instead.