Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Challenge : B is for Balloon

I like watching hot air balloons. I have since I was a child. I could sit and stare at the bright orbs floating on the sky for long periods of time. I remember going to county fairs where there might be one for show, or perhaps, if you were lucky, you might be able to get into the balloon and watch as the pilot turned up the flame and you rose higher and higher. Or at least as high as the tethered craft would go. Safely harnessed to the ground so no one would be lost.

I was content to watch.

I remember going to a hot air balloon event a long time ago. Listening to the forced hot air as the flames reached into the gaping mouth of the balloon. And it rose. Temperature differences reacting from the inside and outside and the rose and drifted and rose and fell, growing smaller as they moved away from the crowd. Or growing larger if they were coming in and headed toward the landing pad.

I can still sit and watch them for a very long time.

There is something soothing about their presence in the sky. About their graceful bob and bounce, floating on the wind, their openness, and the exposure of the passengers.

A couple of years ago I was on a dragon boat team with a woman who was a hot air balloon pilot. Before that time I'd never thought about the balloons being piloted, or that it was something one could aspire to do; that someone would think "I want to grow up and be a hot air balloon pilot." She was very nice. If I ever had to courage to go up in a balloon, I think I'd like her as my pilot - calm, funny, confident.

Twice I've just missed the big hot air balloon event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It looks gorgeous - the balloons against the blue skies of NM and the landscape of the region is inviting. Once I considered planning a vacation so I would be there at that time but it didn't work out.

I don't think I'll ever go up in one. I'm content to be a spectator.