Lifting more than a wicker basket
We woke before dawn to drive north in time to see the hot air balloons.
When we arrived, sleepy spectators and the fabric of balloons yet to be inflated stretched across the open field.
Moments later, the roar of the first burner pierced the air signalling things were about to get interesting.
One by one the balloons, like oversized quilts on a clothesline, puffed and billowed.
Moving from one to another, we marveled at how big they were and how much they grew and grew ... and grew.
I've since learned that what we call the "balloon" is referred to as the envelope(!). There may be a scientific reason for the name, but I like the idea that, like a paper envelope, it holds so much anticipation and possibility.
The way the fabric, laying as flat a paper envelope on the open field, conceals what will soon be revealed.
After a dozen teardrop balloons filled and took flight, we watch two others inflate. But these were not like the others. They had odd shapes filling and protruding from the envelope.
No, we were no longer in teardrop territory ... these were different.
At first all we could see were spike-like shapes protruding from the black fabric, and heard someone say, "it's a spider."
But then something that looked like a crown appeared.
And then a face ... is it a dog?
Not sure ... now it looks more like a bear?
It's a lion king(!) ... fully inflated, puffed up and tethered alongside a cartoon sloth.
It would be impossible to stuff these jolly characters in an envelope, but it reminds me how much mail matters.
How the sight of a paper envelope can, like the hot air that fills these balloons, lift spirits.
Exploring the art and writing of short story memoir