Hot air ballooning and baseball are not as different as you'd think. They both seduce you into searching a blue summer sky with joy and excitement. Time stands still—as in music or poetry— as you trace the fleeting arc of the soaring ball. The higher it flies, the more your feet don't touch the ground. The world around you quiets and disappears. For a moment, your heart is suspended in air and nothing else matters. And you think, this is weightlessness, what it feels like to fly. This is being six-years-old and lying smack flat on the grass to absorb the sky. This is summer, unfettered.
This emerald green hot air balloon floated out of nowhere above a friend's country lawn in Millbrook, New York, and we all ran out to admire it. We could barely see the people in the bucket, but we waved anyway. The boldly striped flying machine looked down on us and towering evergreens with complete superiority. We were insignificant, but we didn't care. We listened to it inhale and exhale loudly, whooshing like a giant doing yoga. It was above us for just a half-dozen breaths, and then it sailed out of our patch of cumulus-filled sky. Even after it left, a little bit of it stayed, like a memory of a home run. We had more space inside us.
See if you agree. Check out this beautiful National Geographic short film by Joel Schat of a New Mexican hot air balloon festival by clicking here.