Lantern Festival

20130720_223317Mama, I have an answer.

Cameron’s eyes were bright in the darkness, but he wasn’t joking around. It took a moment for me to piece together what he was talking about.

On our way to Illuminares, the Vancouver Lantern festival at Trout Lake, I had reminded Cameron about the things he saw last year. We talked briefly of the labyrinth they had there, that the kids enjoyed running through.

What’s a labyrinth?

I explained that it was something like a maze, but that there were no wrong turns. They’re a meditation technique – you ask yourself a question, something that is bugging you, and then walk the labyrinth. When you come out, you may have an answer. Cameron wanted to know how, and I explained that sometimes our brains need to take a bit of time without being bothered.

And then we got within sight of the park, and I was pretty sure that the discussion had gone in one ear and out the other. There was so much to see! A great playground, and the lanterns were being installed by the artists all over the place.  There was indeed a labyrinth, this time of decorated paper bags weighted with sand, and they’d be lit at nightfall with candles. Cameron ran and ran with a tribe of kids, in and out among the bags, laughing. We walked around the lake, taking in the sights, marking displays we wanted to return to after dark. We lost Leif, who was off taking pictures. Then there was tree climbing fun, meeting with friends, finding Leif, showing Grandma and Grandpa and Amma and Afi around, and the procession began. Cameron chased after the ‘spirits’, watched a wishing lanter get launched, admired the animal lanterns, and dragged me to the fire dancing show.

But then, on our way back to the car, Cameron pulled me insistently to the labyrinth again,  now all beautifully lit and glowing, asking so sweetly to go into it again, just once. I agreed, and let him disappear into the night to become one of the shadows amid the glow. Dad, Janice and I waited on the sidelines where he’d left us, so he could find us easily again.  It was as he emerged that he announced that he had this answer. Trying to figure out what the heck he was talking about, I asked him, and he specified that his brain gave him the answer. AH!

I asked him if he’d share with me what his question was.

I asked myself why Sebastian calls everything poison ivy, Cameron said, referencing an earlier conversation. Cameron and this particular boy often butt heads, and Cameron’s come home on several occasions convinced that some plant or another is poison ivy, because Sebastian told him so.  It’s gotten to the point where, in a nastier and less grown-up moment, I’ve commented that I’m surprised this kid doesn’t think that grass is poison ivy.

And the answer is, because he doesn’t really know any more than I do what poison ivy looks like. 

Perceptive kid, when he gives his brain a chance.


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