Saturday, September 22, 2012


I'd been out of bed for about twenty minutes when the telephone rang. At that time of the morning I expected either bad news or a telemarketer. Instead, it was my daughter Kim, sounding unusually chipper for the early hour. Kim moved to a new house a couple of weeks ago and is still getting settled. "Mom," she said, "my whole house is surrounded by hot air balloons. Do you want to come over and bring your camera?"

You bet I did.

I brushed my teeth, combed my hair, pulled on yesterday's clothes, called the dogs back in the house, changed the batteries in my camera, and took off. Kim's new house is only about ten minutes away, but I worried the whole way there that the balloons would be gone. Instead, as I turned into her subdivision, I saw this hovering over the treetops:

As excited as I was to see even that rather sedate (funereal) balloon, it was only the beginning. Behind Kim's house is an empty field that must have looked like a good landing area to the balloonists, so we stood out there awhile and watched as other balloons touched down.

(Note:  I've kept these photos small in hopes that they'll load a little faster for you, but I promise you'll enjoy them much more if you'll click on them to view bigger versions.)

This shot shows some of the chase vehicles that
follow on the ground to pick up the balloons and
their pilots after they land.

I especially enjoyed watching this beautiful specimen fly directly over our heads:

When we headed around the house to the front yard, we were delighted to see that we weren't the only ones excited by the appearance of the hot air balloons. Neighbors poured out of their houses like ants on their way to a picnic. It isn't every day that colors like these drop from the sky and land smack in the middle of suburbia.

 Neighbors watch as the pilot and the chase team deflate the balloon.

Now, I named this post "Ascension," which might seem misleading in light of the fact that all these balloons were photographed as they descended, but I chose that title for a couple of reasons. For one thing, we citizens of Ascension Parish, Louisiana, are proud that the annual Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival has moved here for the first time. I hope the participants will find everything to their liking and come back year after year.

Secondly, my mood lately has been marked by a subtle wistfulness, blues of an unknown origin. Nothing is wrong, yet it's seemed like too much work to do any significant house cleaning or to put my thoughts into a coherent blog post. This morning's events may have been all I needed to climb out of the doldrums. Who can hang on to that grey space when the sky is full of brilliant colors? Yes, the balloons were on their way down, but watching them--and seeing the happy faces of Kim's neighbors--made my spirit soar.  Talk about "ascension"!


  1. My sister went down to see the balloons today too. They did an amazing job of lifting her spirits too!


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