This past week I spotted my first hot air balloons of the year! This is something I look forward to. On Tuesday I sighted three.
One was a deep, dark blue balloon I have not seen before and one of the others was the omnipresent REMAX balloon. The balloons often launch from Gallagher Park in the heart of the Edmonton which happens to be right on my morning commuting route. Twice over the years I have come within minutes of seeing them launch. On Thursday as a I approached the river from the North side I saw the top of a balloon peeking above the trees on the other side of the river. It only took me a couple of minutes of furious pedaling to reach the launch site but that was still too long. It was already hundreds of feet up and away. So close! Still, any balloon spotting brightens my day. I once saw the Mr. Peanut Balloon floating across the Edmonton’s morning sky. Now that was surreal start to a work day.
I don’t know if there is any rational reason why seeing hot air balloons makes me so happy. It is wholly experiential : photos of balloon are uninteresting to me. I suspect that it is the unearthly nature of seeing something so large move so silently through the air. Something in me responds to a rejection of the cacophony of motorized movement. I’d rather hike through the mountains than ride an ATV, row a boat rather than operate a outboard motor and (of course) ride a bike instead of driving. However, the periodic roar of the jets of flame are less than tranquil. So I’m not sure. It is interesting that the photos of balloons I take render them tiny and utterly fail to convey their massive presence.
One day I will see a balloon launching and I’ll call in sick to work. Instead, I’ll spend the morning chasing the balloon across the city and countryside on my bike. It had better be a calm day, though, because even in a light breeze those puppies can move!