Last Sunday I spent the day in Fort Lauderdale beach. El Hombre was at Ultra (out in a hot field with portable bathrooms and lots of people? NOT my scene) and my family was in town, so I made my way up to Broward to see them.
There's nothing particularly special - we didn't do anything crazy or wild. Instead I spent the afternoon playing cards with my little cousins, going to the beach and burying said little cousins in the sand. Later on that night, after dinner, we walked out into the yard, which faces the Intercoastal. Some people were sipping drinks, the guys were puffing cigars and the kids were fishing. After much pleading, I finally agreed to help my youngest cousin (she's 7) fish by holding the pole. Every time there was a tug on the line I would hand it over to her and she would gleefully it in.
Then, out of nowhere we spotted these floating red things in the sky. One of the older uncles was teasing the kids that they were UFOs while his wife rushed in to grab binoculars. On closer look, it was some sort of lantern with candles inside. They drifted higher and higher, slowly burning out while everyone theorized where they came from.
Out of nowhere my little cousin piped up, "I heard that when Chinese people die, their family light lanterns like that to honor them." What an interesting thing for a child to know, and what a great allegory for life that alleged ritual is. Whether the lights just went out, or consumed the lanterns they were in I don't know. I don't think they were released to honor someone's death, more than likely they were released by the yacht wedding that was slowly drifting up and down the Intercoastal, but it was an interesting symbol that resonated and calmed some of the inner turmoil I've been experiencing of late.