Ill Fated Lantern

I make it a habit to try to be as creative as possible for gift giving occasions. I consider it a personal failure if I get someone a serious, practical gift. This year for Christmas, I pulled out all of the stops and hit up online sites for personalized gifts.

For my family as a whole, I decided on trying something I had seen on television. What better way to spend a Christmas night than lighting sky lanterns as a family? Well a family, plus my SO. He doesn’t really count as family.

In my mind, I imagined all of us just lighting the flame, launching all six simultaneously. I imagined my niece being able to hold one, and us helping her let it go. Personally, I was going to make a wish on mine. The sky lantern was going to signify my coming year. Some big changes were approaching–college graduation, and the full time job hunt.

Let’s just say that sky lanterns are not as easy to light and launch as movies and TV shows make them seem. They’re pretty sizable, and it was at least a two man job to get the light started and inflate the lantern.

lanternMy father launched his first, followed by my sister-in-law, and SO. All three did so easily, and I have to say that the lanterns were worth every penny. Even though we couldn’t launch them as syncronized as I’d imagined, they were really beautiful to watch.

Then it was my turn. In that lantern, I put all of my expectations for the year to come, expecting it to fly away as gracefully as the other lanterns.

That sky lantern couldn’t wait to flop back unceremoniously onto the ground. We tried tossing it, gently gliding it, barely pushing it, and each time the lantern promptly crashed into the ground.

lantern1See? There went all of my hopes and dreams.

We finally stomped out that lantern. Could I take the hint from the universe? No, of course not. After my brother successfully launched his lantern, I decided to try again.

At this point in time, most of my family had gone back inside the house because of the chilly weather.

Like the lantern I had before, this one just didn’t want to leave the ground. By the time it flopped back down, we just threw it into the air.

Finally, finally, this lantern decided to glide. Only, it wasn’t high enough in the air. It glided straight into my neighbor’s tree. It was a mad scramble as my dad and brother sprinted to see if there was any way to get the lantern down, but it was towards the top of the tree and hopelessly out of reach. In my hurry to get down to the tree, I tripped down the brick steps leading to that section of the lawn.

We could only wait, watch, and madly hope that it didn’t catch the tree on fire, and that the neighbors weren’t looking out the window at that particular moment. After a few agonizing minutes, the lantern fizzled out, and slipped through the branches, onto the ground.

I couldn’t help but laugh about the irony of the whole situation. Of course. Of course my hopes-and-dreams sky lantern would crash and burn into a tree. That’s a great indicator of the coming year.

Seeing as its February, and my year seems to be going well so far, I’m guessing the universe didn’t take my sky lantern prediction too seriously.

Thank goodness.

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