Flickers of Light/Scent of Magic
Flickers of Light / Scent of Magic
By Kathleen M. Brosius

      The familiar sound of an owl, shadows
flickering on the wall, the touch of the soft feather
mattress that we lie on: these are a few of the
senses experienced during a night spent in an old
shanty that rested on the banks of the Minnesota
Sough. There was no running water and no
electricity. In a tiny kitchen, our mother used a
two-burner propane stove to prepare supper. She
stored milk and butter in an old ice box on the
      We had several kerosene lamps in those days.
The smell of the golden fluid that brought life to
that humble cottage gave me much comfort during
my young life. I loved the lamp that sat on a small
table beside the bed, best of all. A round glass bowl,
that held the kerosene, perched on a tall pedestal.
A cotton wick was fed down though the burner until
it dipped into the amber fuel below. The saturated
wick would be ignited and the glow of the flame
illuminated the room and cast mysterious shadows
about. A sparkling glass chimney protected the
flame, as it flickered and danced inside its crystal
      Our mother took my brothers and me on
adventures around the world as she read stories
from ancient books. I recall: The Bobbsey Twins,
Raggedy Ann and Andy, Yellow Eyes, and of course
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls
       Today, we have all the luxuries of modern life,
it seems, no matter where we go. But there is one
thing that I truly miss, that old kerosene lamp.
Whenever I smell kerosene, I travel back to a world
where fairies danced on walls, where a mighty owl
ruled the woods at night. My mother was close and
my father near-by. So grateful am I for the gift of
memory. A flame that flickers deep in my soul
comes to life at just the smell of yellow liquid

Copyright by Kathleen M. Brosius - January, 2010