I gingerly stepped into the basket of the hot air balloon. Having been dared to take a hot air balloon ride I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. This was the adventure of a lifetime.
Focusing on the instructions, I settled in where I was told to stand and gently touched the edges of the basket before me. I braced myself for the sensation when the balloon began to rise.
Gently the basket began to lift me from the ground. I watched as the crowd below grew smaller. They looked like picnic ants at a picnic with all of the colors of the rainbow in their clothing.
Focusing on the ground I watched as the green grass began to grow smaller in the distance. My heart took a gentle leap as the balloon rose higher than the trees. I was flying.
Remembering the scene from the movies on the ships, I leaned forward and held my arms out over the edge of the basket extended to the skies. It truly felt like I was in flying.
Daring to peer below I saw the birds flying in the air beneath the basket. My basket had a “window” in the bottom of it rather like a skylight where I could see beneath the basket as well.
As my legs adjusted to the motion of the basket I began to relax and focus on taking pictures with the camera I had brought along around my neck.
I looked to my left and saw the lake as a blue puddle on the landscape below. I looked like an artist had painted the ground with splotches of green here and there and then a few splashes of blue as well as a “trail” of blue where the river emptied into one of the lakes.
The people were nearly invisible by now. Appearing only as blobs of color here and there when they were wearing brightly colored clothing items.
I focused on the clouds that were just to our right and wondered if we would be flying into them. We neatly circumvented the clouds and as we rounded the corner of the edge of the ridge I saw the most spectacular sight before me.
The landscape was dotted with vibrant colors of the fall leaves. It appeared as if someone had taken every fall color and painted it individually on the trees before us.
It was spectacular, to say the least. I snapped as many photographs as I was able. My camera was snapping photo after photo and I was in awe of the world from the hot air balloon.
My eyes scanned the ground for signs of life. I saw smoke winding its way up from a chimney in the distance. I saw small specks of white where the sheep farm was.
I pondered how the world could look so different from up here. It was amazing and awe-inspiring all at once.
I looked toward the mountain before us and I saw hiking trails that wound through the woods. I’d never noticed some of these before. I made a mental note of some of the landmarks vowing to return on foot and do some more hiking.
I noticed that there were many areas of clearing in the woods that I’d never noticed before when I was on the ground. I focused on the region where I had done a lot of camping in the past.
My eyes were drawn to more blue splotches. More lakes? I wondered about this as I perused the landscape beneath the hot air balloon.
The streets, roads, and trails looked like ribbons beneath me as did the rivers and creeks that I’d grown up around. The houses dotted the landscape reminding me of the many plastic villages I had built as a child with just about anything I could get my hands on.
It was peaceful and serene in the air. I felt the air current as it gently teased my hair. It truly felt as if I were flying and observing the world from a totally different perspective.
No worries or fears would assail me up here. It was as if time stood still and I was merely watching it. “Was this what it was like in heaven?” I wondered to myself.
As we began our decent, the images became more clearly focused. The houses began to enlarge and the people did as well.
The green splotches seemed to change colors depending on the altitude that we were at. I looked beneath me at the artist’s palette that I had been enjoying from up in the sky.
As we began to descend the last few feet the people became larger and the ground began to feel as if it were rushing up to greet me. I was on the ground now. My memories forever captured on my camera.