Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blue skies and hot air

The blue sky looks inviting today. While yesterday I woke up to a canopy of grey clouds above, today it is a canvas of light blue. I think about random things sometimes. My blogs just veer in whichever direction I'm going that morning. Today it is about possibility. The blue sky is an optimistic one. I think about being in the air. I think about hot air balloons.

I grew up in central California and I remember as a child that there was a weekend every year where there was a hot air balloon event. The colors illuminated the sky as they rose higher and higher into the clouds. Sometimes there would be upwards to ten of these balloons in the sky at once floating above the earth. As a child I wasn't sure which part impressed me the most. Was it the balloon in the sky or the early dawn before when they lit up the balloons in the darkness. Each balloon looking like some large exotic lamp from a foreign land in the purple glow of the morning light. I wanted to jump in that basket and ride away to wherever the balloon took me.

The first hot air balloon took flight in 1783 in Paris:

This is my favorite clip from John Adams. It shows the optimism of a new country being born tied into the beauty and wonder of man's first flight. Who'd have thought it was the French leading the way huh? Actually one of the coolest parts of my European trip was this out of the way museum we found outside of Paris. We were supposed to go to the Louvre but heard the line was too long. The weather and skies in Paris were not optimistic. We had a day to spare before our plane to sunny southern Spain. We stumbled into this "international museum" according to our French cab driver. It was an air museum and not the art work we anticipated. We laughed as we viewed the prowess of the mighty French air force units. The Concorde was a cool thing to see and that was definitely made in France. Yet the most inspiring and surprising part of the museum was the hot air balloons and I found the balloon from my favorite scene.

This is what life does sometimes. We go to Paris by accident, and a middle of nowhere "international museum" by another accident, and then I find what I really wanted to see. This was far more impressive to me than the Mona Lisa. This was man's ridiculous belief that we could have a balloon whisk us into the heavens. They probably wanted to lock them up before they showed it was possible. Yet it wasn't the grey clouds above that inspired this journey into the sky, it was the blue. Just as the ocean has attracted sailors and adventurers for centuries upon centuries, the blue sky called out to two French men and two Americans in 1903 in North Carolina.

I remember this when things are not where I want them to be. I remember that life can change in a minute. That what we thought we wanted can shift in the wind like a balloon and lead us somewhere even better than we imagined.

No comments:

Post a Comment