Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This land smells of sweet sweet flowers. I first noticed it while zooming home thro the rice fields on my motorbike one evening, singing happily to myself while watching loose lanterns scale into the sky to join the stars. At first it reminded me of the sickly sweet, poignant smell of death and the flowers that lined my grand mother's coffin. But now it will forever remind me of warm Thai evenings, of laying on my back watching Loy Kathong lanterns travel across the sky and setting banana boats free on the ping river.
Thailand just celebrated the gorgeous Loy Kathong festival. We were invited to the local elementary school where the small children rolled out mats and showed us the art of folding banana leaves to decorate our floating banana boats. The boy scouts all practiced lighting and releasing the lanterns into the sky, which is far more difficult than you might think. After three attempts that the lanterns crashed and burned, the children finally hit pay day and off floated their white lantern into the afternoon sky. The children raced after it, running and jumping in excitement!
In the evening, we all made our way to the Ping riverside in Chiang Mai where we stashed prayers on our little banana boats and lit their candles and incense then set them free to sail down the river, far far away. I tied all my fears and worries to a Loy Kathong lantern and sent it sailing to the moon. It was a beautiful moment of bidding farewell to the past and opening my arms wide open to the future. :)

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