It is early in the morning; the sun is just below the horizon. It will break through any second. But for now, the sky runs from bright yellow up to beautiful, cloudless blue and for the life of you, you can’t tell where the yellow stops and the blue starts.
Already there are two or three hot air balloons vertical. There are more lying on the ground, huge gas burners breaking the morning quiet, roaring their heat, inflating these giants just with air.
Underneath the vertical ones, there’s a wicker basket. Wicker! It looks incredibly tiny compared to the huge balloon above. But they tell you to climb in anyway. It is still all a little surreal.
The gas burner roars again, and amazing as it seems you start to rise off the floor. This is nothing like a plane hurtling off the ground. In hot air balloon rides in Arizona, you just rise. It is gentle, it’s almost imperceptible. Until you realize the people you were eye-to-eye with are now ant-sized specs on the ground scurrying into cars to follow you wherever you’re going.
Suddenly, the pilot shuts off the gas, and the quiet is fantastic. You didn’t expect it. There is some wind noise but not much, and you begin to drift.
The other balloons are up here too, but they seem far away. They are! Giving you space. You’re all heading in sort of the same direction, and you wonder if you look as majestic to them as they do to you?
The wicker basket suddenly makes sense. What else would you need but a natural material? Because floating here is about as natural as it gets. You look at the renewed beauty of the earth with fresh eyes.