Hot air balloons float over my house in Des Moines with some regularity in the summer. I’ve watched from the ground and wondered what it would be like to go up in one. What would it feel like? What would I hear? What would I see? How would it be differing than looking at the ground from an airplane seat?
Being up in a balloon would provide an entirely different perspective. Of that I was certain. When I visited my sister in Tucson, we agreed it was time. A first-ever opportunity for both of us.
I’ll cut to the chase. The entire experience was magnificent.
Early morning light painted a soft fringe on the saguaro cacti. Were it not for this flight, I’d never have thought to describe a saguaro as “soft.”
Floating along at 400 feet, we spotted javelinas, coyotes, deer, and rabbits threading through the cacti, skirting around buildings, traveling close, but not too close, to each other. From this perspective, we saw them all exist in the same territory, aware of each other perhaps, but for the moment in a live-and-let-live mode.
I felt child-like delight watching the shadow of our balloon against the mountains as we drifted along.
With blasts of heat from the burner – the only sound disturbing the morning silence – we rose to 2,000+ feet and crested Sombrero Peak in the Tucson Mountains. Our pilot who’d been flying for 30 years had never flown directly over this peak. His delight made me think how wonderful it is to discover new pleasure in something you do all the time.
From greater heights, we enjoyed the patterns of fields, a quarry, and the mountain range – designs we could never take in with our feet on the ground.
In life and in writing, it helps to step back (or in this case, ‘up’) every once in a while. To get away from the minutiae. To see how the larger pieces fit together. To gain new perspectives on what I thought I knew.
Thanks for joining me on this flight of fancy. How do you step away from the details and gain bigger picture perspective? Please share.