7:48 PM. A Clear Night. Comfort and Joy.

Paper lanterns at night

Not my photo. It was too cold, pre-lantern, to find my phone.

Earlier this evening, at 7:48 in fact, it was 15 degrees Fahrenheit with 64 percent humidity. Visibility registered at 10 miles by people who know these sorts of things.

It was bitterly cold and the sky was black. I was grumbling and feeling stressed and wintery and bleak.

Until I looked up.

A surprise train of those paper lanterns was trailing in the sky.

I had never seen them before, at least not in real life and not an Internet dating commercial on TV. Unless you count that one time I plucked a metal and paper carcass of one from the back yard after the Fourth of July. And, truthfully, I hadn’t had any particular feelings for them except to wonder if they mightn’t be bad for the environment and animals; or to question if there wasn’t something a tad selfish in giving oneself some moments of fiery pleasure at the expense of creating an inconvenience for a stranger who would find the paper and wire remnants and have to pick them up (say, on July 5th, just as an example).

And then tonight happened. It started with five or six gold chrysanthemum-shaped stars dancing across the sky. More followed, gently, maybe a dozen in total. In the black, sub-zero (Celsius) night.

I was less cold. I was, in fact, enchanted. I wanted to linger and watch them. The night was better with them. I was better for seeing them. I have no idea why they were there in the skies over downtown Indianapolis on a winter Monday night. But I am grateful that they were. (To whom it may concern, thank you…)

“We shall find peace. We shall hear the angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.” — Chekhov


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