On Friday night we drove to a local stadium to view hot air balloons. As we stepped on the field, I noticed the energy around me: the family of four crawling into the basket to set sail on a ride in the sky, people standing in line for the newest food truck delight, kids running from balloon to balloon, watching as the pilots ignited the flame just enough to inflate their colorful contraption as both adults and children looking in awe, gazing intently as to what would happen next. In the background, a local band played music and sang popular songs, as well as classics. The hot air from the flames provided a blanket for those of us who felt cold. Everywhere people stopped, stared and commented on these colorful delights. The same look of wonder appeared on the adults, as did the children.
When night fell, a symphony of flickers happened at once, a collective gloaming that illuminated the darkness of the sky. This happened a few times and I caught it on camera. The beauty that emanated from these glimmers mimicked real life, the one that I live, with its joy and sorrow, certainty and uncertainty, light and dark. When it ended, the night became ordinary again, filled with only the light of overhead lamps. But one thing was certain: these manmade fireflies created an apt metaphor that lingered with me throughout the weekend.
On Saturday, we spent most of the day participating in the ordinary. I snuck in a quick workout at the gym and we headed out mid-morning for groceries and a few errands. In the middle of the day, we retreated to the loft area of our home, where we read books and then one by one, reading turned into a quick afternoon nap. I sensed a calm that threaded through this afternoon. Content. Together. Cocooned in our home and not wanting to be anywhere else, the beauty that exists in this kind of quiet is the kind of stillness that I yearn in all parts of my life. Clichéd as it sounds, these are the moments that matter. The unfolding occurs in just the right way.
We ended the weekend with the annual celebration of Holi. The Hindu festival of Holi announces the debut of spring, with its glimmers and flashes, carrying a message of hope. It is a time when caste, age, and status are shed and all people mingle and engage in the ritual of throwing colored water on friends and family. Sneaky little boys and girls slap their parents with colors, young newlyweds flirt amongst all of the revelry, and the elderly feel a little more alive witnessing the nostalgia of their youth. The sound of revelry cascades through the air and everyone utters the words, “Holi h.”
With friends and family, we recreated this celebration in a park several miles from my home. My daughter scattered a handful of purple in her hands and threw it up in the air. Our faces displayed a colorful rainbow. Laughter, the smell of curry and the sound of Hindi songs transformed this park into a Holi wonderland. As my daughter chased me, I felt that same flicker – when I witnessed the light of the balloons, when I read with my family in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, and now, as I tried to dodge my daughter’s grasp, as we ran around the park, the lines between adulthood and childhood becoming a blur.
Those flickers. They come unannounced. But always offer light.