This evening a number of sky lanterns floated high over the houses in this part of the village where I live. They were stunningly beautiful. Silent, elegant ships of light in the high darkness.
And while part of me suspects they may simply be among the left-overs from last night – when rockets and lanterns seemed to fill the sky above the trick’r’treating crowds – the rest of me half-hoped it was something else. Something more. I am probably about as areligious as you can be without falling out the door of any community of faith but I do remember that the lighting of votive candles and lights often formed part of the All Saints observations in the chapels of my home town, when I was a child. As did fasting, prayers and litanies offered for faithfulness. While fasting, prayers and those litanies are now mostly consigned to individual and collective memory, it would be nice to think that out there, somewhere to the south-west of where I sit typing this, there is a hand and heart that believes enough in the votive power of floating lights in a dark sky to set those lanterns sailing.