Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Favorite Place

(Writing prompt WFSC August 18/12)
The prompt was to use a series of words in one piece, so I decided to write about our Hot Air Balloon Ride using those words.......,
(the words are highlighted in the piece) it is.

The evening was calm, clear, warm, on August 24th; perfect for a balloon ride and that's just exactly what I was going to do, accompanied by the handsome love of my life. Side by side we stood to watch as the staff sent up a small balloon to test the winds. It was really quite exciting. I had never been on a balloon ride before; this was going to be a new adventure.
I looked into the basket sitting on the trailer, which was to be our little haven for the duration of our flight as we floated high above the trees. Wondering how I would get inside I reluctantly asked the question and was told it would not be a problem. Unconvinced, I worried about how I would climb aboard as my fingernail snapped from the pressure I enforced upon it. Clutching my book and little green towel I turned the pages, quickly finding the place I had left off reading. Now you might ask what I was doing with a book and towel on a balloon ride; good question; I asked the same one of myself; nonetheless I had both with me in my little tote bag; the tote bag with a kingfisher held in captivity on the side panel. This tote went everywhere with me so now it was going on a balloon ride; the book, well it occupied me while I waited; the towel would mop up my tears (if it came to that).
Soon it was time to climb into the van. We were on our way to the launch site as our pilot told of his adventures on previous flights in Australia.
Arriving at the site, the basket was quickly unloaded, the balloon unfolded and the inflation began, with the help of George and another volunteer each holding it open so that air could be forced into the huge sack. At just the right time the air was heated up to finish and ready us for flight. When the balloon was upright, it was time for loading which, to my relief went quite smoothly as I climbed into the basket via small openings in the side walls, the large metal frame to hold on to and just a slight boost from George. Inside the basket there was ten plus the pilot so it was a bit cramped and with no flight attendant we had to get our own drinks and snacks as well as find our own way to the wash room. That was a bit of a pickle to be in but we managed quite well; in fact we felt almost as content as a frog on a lily pad if you can imagine what that might be like.
Quickly we rose up over the huge trees which circled the little green landing space from where we launched. Soon we were up and overlooking the shoreline as we passed over a lake where the water lillies floated near the rocks and the fish laughed at us as they swam in our shadow. To our left we watched the other balloon float beside us as the shadow of our craft slowly blocked their sunshine. Beyond the other balloon was the beautiful Mt. Rainier. We could see the tall buildings of Seattle off in the distance amidst the haze. Soon the sun would set and at that moment it was a spectacular sight up here above the world below. There was such a feeling of freedom floating here; if it were possible to stay up indefinitely, this could quickly become my favorite place to be.
All too soon we began to descend towards the ground with a soccer field as our landing target. We passed over a small waterway in which we were able to see the reflection of our balloon as we passed over. The pilot expertly put us down on the soccer field without event and we all climbed out and watched as the staff readied the balloon for loading and its next flight. It was with a feeling of sadness that our flight was over.
At journeys end we visited a winery with snacks, wine tasting and stories. The balloon ride was a very memorable adventure which I would be happy to take part in again.

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