I don’t think you need to be suffering from Peter Pan syndrome to still find those things we found fascinating as children, still interesting as adults. Take for example balloons.
Sure there’s the helium kind that make everyone sound like rejects from lollipop land or Wizard of Oz. The ones where we carefully hold a hand in front of our faces while we inflate them with hot air. And the ones that talented people twist and turn into animals, hats and flowers.
But the ones that still fascinate me at the hot air kind that float like colorful jellyfish in the clear, blue sky.
And apparently I’m not alone.
Where I work, far on the outskirts of Phoenix, the hot air balloons are unpacked, filled and lift off. At least once a week I am treated to rainbows of silk. Wicker baskets dangle from spiderwebs of lines. The whoosh of heat and the flicker of flames that lift the balloons ever higher.
Yesterday, I had the occasion to see two balloons with stylized saquaro cactus on the sides lift off. One was skimming the cactus tops as it tried to raise above a mountain.
The other was just lifting off.
During rush hour traffic, cars had stopped alongside the road. People had taken out their cell phones and were snapping pictures, smiling and pointing.
Traffic slowed to a crawl as drivers craned their necks to get a look. And I admit to checking the rearview multiple times to watch. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see the balloons up close several times. Once when one landed in the part near our house. So many people came out to watch it touch down on the soccer field.
The other times were at Glendale’s Glitter and Glow. I always loved balloons during the day, but at night, lit by the fire, they’re absolutely amazing.