Yankee Candle

For my money, nobody does what Yankee Candle does better than Yankee Candle. And that thing is scented candles. The store is loaded with shelves and tables filled to capacity with, well, candles. Candles of all shapes, scents, and colors, all of them coming in an old-fashioned-looking glass jar with a picture on the front in the least tacky sort of way. What amazes me most about the place is the sheer variety in scents. "French Vanilla," "Vanilla Cupcake," and "Vanilla Lime" are all available, and so are four different fragrances beginning with the word "Autumn." All said and done, there are nearly 100 different odors. I really don't have much else to say about the place. Let's face it, it's a total mom store. I've been inside it maybe twice. I also knew someone who worked there, but barely.

For me, the memories evoked by Yankee Candles are those of winter power outages. My mom always had a plethora of candles on hand, and whenever a blizzard knocked some power lines out of commission, we'd head straight for the cabinet which held them all. Spreading them out mainly in the kitchen and living room, we'd light them all. From a practical standpoint, I can't really say why; a dozen spread out candles made for more of a fire hazard than a lighting fixture. Besides, we always also had an assortment of flashlights handy. I guess more than anything we did it for the tranquility. There's something about a small flame flickering about on a wick, slowly melting away an enormous amount of wax, that is just so utterly beautiful and hypnotizing. Even staring at a wall or ceiling and watching shadows dance sporadically due to the patternless nature of fire could occupy me for ten or twenty minutes, if the power had been out long enough. The smells were indescribable - not because they were so otherworldly or anything, but because they were always a hodgepodge mixture of five or ten different fragrances.

Losing electricity for more than a few hours always makes me pensive about man's place in the world. The majority of my waking hours in the winter time are spent staring at some sort of screen or reading words under artificial light. Lose electricity, and there's very little for me to do. I sit, and I think. I reflect on how much I take electricity for granted and imagine no one must have stayed up very late in the time of our forefathers. Hell, half the world today has no electricity. Sometimes if it's still snowing pretty hard, I'll just walk outside and stand there, right in the middle of it. If you've never just stood in the middle of a heavy snowfall, you need to do so. All around you, the snow muffles all sounds coming from every direction. There's a total and beautiful silence. The moonlight reflects all the more so from the snow, and it's as bright as twilight outside, even in the middle of the night. Hunger and sleepiness notwithstanding, I could walk around on nights like those for hours.

So yeah, that's Yankee Candle in a nutshell. (Also optional: nutshell in a Yankee Candle.)

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