In the Spirit of Medicine: a single candle lights the darkness

Jan 4, 2021

Credit Copyright Ivy Vainio. Used with permission.

  The cemetery is far from city lights and is surrounded by tall pine trees.  We are close to the same latitude as Finland and my grandmother would have seen the same winter constellations as a little girl in her homeland. 

We walk carefully so we don’t disturb the snow and we reverently place the candles on each grave.

We light them and they softly illuminate the names on the headstones.

We drove away with the ice candles glowing on the snow covered graves and there were other candles from those who had come earlier. Each candle illuminated a name on a headstone. Each name had its own story and someone had been there to remember them. 

                                                                                                A single candle lights the darkness.

In the Spirit of Medicine features the essays of Dr. Arne Vainio, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs  Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet. His essays on life, work, medicine, and spirit are published in News from Indian Country and you can find the link to this story here.