The 'crowd control' are members of The Suns, who where golden hooded sweatshirts and carry bamboo staffs. They hold them horizontally, making a mobile fence, as the lion dancers and drummers and cymbal players go from store to store. Strips of firecrackers hang from shop awnings. They're lit as the lion dancers move about. As they dance, they grab and eat lettuce that also hangs from the shops' awnings.
Kids are up on parents' shoulders. Firecracker spit smoke, red paper and bits of debris. One lands on the absolute center of the crown of my head. I'm exhilarated. An auspicious sign, indeed.
Their chi is incredible, a sensory experience that I can feel though I can see just their upper bodies. The crowd blocks their footwork. The staff vibrates with each thrust. From my shoulders, I can hear Beren repeat, "Let's go inside the circle. Let's go inside the circle." I agree. I want to jump in the circle, too, and feel the chi even more vibrantly.
I miss my kung fu class terribly. We attend these events and are inspired to continue our practice at home, awaiting our return to class. I think this is the only aspect of my life, pre-motherhood, that I mourn. The tradition of new year warns against negative words, so I will leave it there.
We wandered, following the lion dancers. We ended up in the front row as a dozen or more ribbons of firecrackers were laid across the street. All other firecrackers had just been a few feet long, these spanned the sidewalks and street. "This will be loud," we agreed.
The firecrackers were lit, acrid smoke filled the air. The lion dancers pranced upon the smoke and sparks. A masked buddha fanned the smoke. It was so loud, I could feel it.
Goodbye, bad spirits of last year. May this year be prosperous and good. Gung Hay Fat Choy.