From high above – Perspective

It's a whole different perspective from the ground.

It’s a whole different perspective from the ground.

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?

The soft arms of a saguaro reach toward us.

The soft arms of a saguaro reach toward us.

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.”

Our shadow preceded us as we flew toward Sombrero Peak.

Our shadow preceded us as we flew toward Sombrero Peak.

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.

Right over the top of Sombrero Peak.

Right over the top of Sombrero Peak.

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.

Light and dark shadows on the mountain range.

Light and dark shadows on the mountain range.

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.

Recently, I wrote about Cadillac Ranch and the importance of taking a closer look. There’s equal value to getting the “30,000-ft” view.

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.

Comments

  1. Chuck Robertson says:

    I do think stepping back from a story is necessary from time to time. I have one I’ve been trying to get the first few pages to work correctly. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t force the ideas out of my head. I put it aside for a few days and was able to look at it with a clear mind. That made a great deal of difference.

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Putting writing aside for a while works for me, too, Chuck. Even overnight. I do that even with blog posts. I know you’ve been struggling with the first few pages. Good for you for listening to your heart and not going forward until you had it right. You and your readers will be happy you did.

  2. Elfrieda Schroeder says:

    Wow, what a great metaphor Carol. Taking a bird’s eye view really makes a difference in how we see things!

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Thanks, Elfrieda. There are so many different ways to look at things. My vacations always put me in positions to look at the world differently. I enjoy sharing these observations.

  3. I gain perspective every morning and evening when I spend 10 minutes basking in God’s presence. This is not a time for Bible study or even prayer, but just being silent and still, listening for His voice, enjoying His presence. The hardest part is letting go of all the brain chatter. But when I’m done, everything is back in perspective. I hear His voice much more clearly and obey instantly, without the battle. It’s like taking a ride in a hot air balloon in the spirit realm!

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Your approach takes perspective to a much higher level, Veronica. Being still is a problem for me, too. Our 24/7 connectedness to the world likely creates a problem for most of us. Thanks for sharing your approach.

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