There are not many times in my life where I have been completely floored by how beautiful something is. On Saturday, October 18th, I had one of those moments.
RiSE was a lantern festival in the middle of the Mojave Desert. I'm not kidding when I say it was in the middle of nowhere. It was hosted in a dry lake bed. We were about 7 miles from anything, it's really the only place in the Las Vegas area where you can see stars. My Mom bought tickets to this event back in the Summer. She wanted to find someone to go with and it just so happened I would be in town for work the weekend of the festival. She had been feeling disconnected from her mother (my grandmother), who passed away 6 years ago and she felt that this may be a way to reach her. After experiencing this I can't help but think she was right. I have had many religious experiences in my life since I was raised Catholic, but this was one of the most spirtual things I have ever done. I have never felt closer to God than at this event.
Before we launched the lanterns, we were given markers to write on them. We each got two--so the first one was my grandma's lantern. We wrote her some notes and cried the whole time. This year has not been an easy one for me, so our second lantern was for me and my "sad, angry colon" as my family and I have start to refer to it. The third was for my sister as she starts her job hunt, and the fourth was for various people in our lives and well-wishes.
The first lantern launch was the most amazing thing. It felt magical. There really is no other way to describe it. Letting go of all of those negative things, sending off hopes and dreams for the future all at once with thousands of other people was one of the most cathartic things I've ever done. I truly hope I have this experience at another point in my life.
I'm also lucky to have had this experience with my Mom. She has been there for me my whole life, even when I was born--it was just her and me. Getting to share this with one of the only people to never disappoint me was incredible, I'm so glad I got to make a good memory with her.
As travel season wraps up for work (phew!), you all should be expecting some more regular posts from me. As much as I love working in college admissions, the travel aspect of my job consumes me each Fall. I'm looking forward to gaining some more consistency over the next few weeks. Until then, enjoy some more pretty pictures: