My favourite candle is from WoodWick, a present from a very sweet ex-colleague. The mint leaf and basil is very fragrant and fresh, yet light enough to not overwhelm even when the fragrance lingers through the night. She likes them because of the natural woodwick that crackles when it burns. I like them for the very clean overall feel – the clean smell, the clean sleek lines, the clean simple shape and feel of the wood cover, the way the candle wax cleanly melts itself away from the glass jar.
There is no other candle that can match this! So… I am going to try more “flavours” after this which I have been burning for more than a year but has not burnt out yet! They apparently have a huge range, but I have no idea where to shop for them. Dad is very anti- my candle-ing habits. I understand his worry … but … sometimes it is a little over-the-top. Nope, I will not kick it when I fall asleep; nope, there aren’t enough flammables in my room to keep it going; nope, I am not such a heavy sleeper that I cannot smell heavy smoke. But yes, I will listen to you and be careful and not burn the candle with anything else within its radius of influence (and yes, I will still burn it, but very carefully and briefly so that you cannot smell/discover it 😀 😀 😀 )
I don’t know why I like candles. Guess I like smells. I love natural, light, fresh, fragrances. Guess too, we are brought up in a very essential-oil-y family and are so surrounded by fresh natural scents, and also very extremely sensitive to scents. We grew up appreciating the smell of sweet herbs wafting from the kitchen into our rooms – Pandan leaves! Have you heard of them? We grow them ourselves too because they smell so good. Cab drivers in Singapore would bundle them up and drop them in their cab so keep out cockroaches. Lemongrass! I am sure you know them. They smell heavenly when boiled with ginger. Yup, I drink them sugarfree, as a beverage. 😀 (These two are so ingrained in our family culture that my mom brought them to cold, wintry Shanghai to try growing them in my room.) Lime plants make really fresh scents too! Not just the lime peel, but also the lime leaves.
We also had some really pretty flowers that smell gorgeous – I only know them by their Chinese names, let me ask google. 水梅 (shui mei) is my favourite – so sweet yet so fresh! Water Jasmine / wrightia religiosa is this plant we grew up with since childhood. We have an entire row of these potted plants, and dad/mom will take turns to tend to them in our balcony. That is the long balcony where we would hang out to do our art works and our paintings, so imagine that environment! Minus the bickerings even when my sis and I are at opposite ends of the balcony. My other favourite floral scent is the 昙花 (tan hua), which is epiphyllum oxypetalum. Its flowering is such a rare and notable phenomenon that there is even a Chinese saying deriving from it – 昙花一现 which refers to the ephemerality of material existence. From the day its bud grows, we will all be so focussed on fussing over it. Everyday, everyone, will take a step into the balcony to admire it (just a bud!!!!) and its budding-dom. When it looks like it will flower any moment, it turns into a question of “huh, how come not flowering yet?” by everyone. When it finally blossoms, everyone comes out of their rooms to oooh-ooohhh-ahhh-ahhh over it. It was really that big a deal for my family. Or at least from what I remember.
Hahhaa, but then again, I remember the last time mom told me “oh, tanhua‘s budding” and I just looked at her with a “noted, thanks” blank-face and then headed off to work. And probably hopped by the balcony when all the babies were oooh-oooh-ahhh-ahhh over the flower, joined them for a bit of that festivity and educated them a bit about the flower and the fragrance and the cultural context and what-nots, and then bounced off back into my room. Guess appreciation for things big and small, material and immaterial, really is an upbringing / nurture / environmental context concept that has to be instilled from young.
Back to the candle. Guess my love for candle is not so much for the material physical object of organic soywax that burns, but for all other immaterial qualities that comes intertwined with it, such as the flame, the fragrance, the smell, the sound.
Just like those flowers. Just like those windchimes.