Hot air balloon at sunset

Hot air balloon flying at sunset

I pick the prettiest part of the sky and I melt into the wing and then into the air, till I’m just soul on a sunbeam.  ~Richard Bach

It was sheer luck I happened to have my camera with me the evening I shot this photograph.  At the time, I didn’t yet have my smartphone, camera at the ready whenever I want it.  No, back then it was an entirely separate piece of equipment.  One I didn’t do much with.

But that night, when I left home to go out for a much-needed walk, I happened to grab my camera to take with me.  I’m not sure why.

For that matter, I still don’t remember why I looked at the sky.  It could have been to see that magnificent Midwestern sunset, the extravagant colors painting the sky over fields of crops and dirt and trees.  I hope that was why.

I do remember being surprised to see the pinpoint of the hot air balloon, silently making its way across the evening sky.  It was far enough away that I couldn’t hear the hiss and groan of the fire stopping and starting as it floated gently beneath the clouds.  But as I paused to watch them slip into the western sky, I wondered about what the world was like from the basket of that balloon.  So different from looking out of an airplane window.  Flying, open to the sky and the air and the quiet, in a beautiful balloon.  Up, up and away.

As I watched the balloon disappear and the sunset that followed in its path, I found myself breathing deeply, the knots in my shoulders unraveling, reclaiming a moment of peace from another hectic day.  I was refreshed.  Renewed.  Encouraged to try again, to free myself to fly –not as far away as in the planes that left those contrails, mind you– but just enough to find a piece of sky to call my own.

And those days when I need just a touch of encouragement, a reminder that it’s okay to fly –days like today, for example– I try to recapture that piece of sky, that peace of mind, I captured in that photograph.

What kinds of things encourage you?  What things help you fly?

[Note: This post is #5 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge.  Please see the button at the lower left of the page for more information.]


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Filed under April A-to-Z Challenge, Life

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