As the lucky grandchild of “my wonderful grandma” (as she demands being called), I had the opportunity to take my second hot air balloon ride. The last time was about five years ago when I could barely see over the basket’s edge.
As we woke at 4:45 a.m. to meet the balloons at the airport in Santa Rosa, I had flashbacks to my first trip. Though the memories are so special, they already are a little fuzzy. So, this time I was committed to remembering the exact feeling of lifting off and flying high in the sky.
As they prepare for takeoff, I was documenting my feelings and thoughts. How high will we go? What will I see? What if we fell? And then . . . we took off!
Floating, just like they do in Willy Wonka when they drink the magic soda, all the way to the clouds. Above the fog and wind we sailed through the sky. As smooth as milk chocolate we moved over a valley of orchards and ponds.
The feeling is absolutely incredible. Flying, actually flying. I had this image of myself climbing to the top of the balloon and bouncing off before I caught myself with my own wings. (I’m weird, I know) But flying through the clouds, alongside birds and below planes as free as ever.
The second time was much more thrilling, but also different. But it is something I will never forget.