We had just finished breakfast and were clearing the dishes from the dining room table. The girls were excited about getting their bathing suits on and heading down to the apartment complex’s pool downstairs. We spent many early mornings or late afternoons there during the hot summer months.
Suddenly one of them called to me. What’s that sound, Mom? I stopped what I was doing and listened. A loud “whooshing” sound met my ears. The sound came closer–I had no clue as to what could be causing it.
I followed the noise from the kitchen and looked out through the sliding glass door that led down to our back stairway. To my amazement, I saw a hot air balloon gliding slowly over our rooftop! That “whooshing” sound was the burner that heated the air and kept the thing afloat. As I watched it slowly (and lowly) go overhead, I saw another one go by following in the other’s path.
I shouted to the girls to come look. We stepped out onto the small balcony and watched in wonder and delight as they passed by, barely skimming the treetops. It seemed as if we could almost reach out and touch them they were so low. They were the typical brightly colored balloons and we could see the people standing inside the wicker baskets as they drifted past. We exchanged waves.
We ended up watching several of them go soaring over our heads and later found out there was a festival in town where several hundred balloon aficionados had gathered to go flying that weekend. I never did find out why they were so incredibly low but perhaps they were nearing their landing places nearby.
What a thrill to see them so close, floating soundlessly by (except for when those burners kicked on). I’ve never forgotten it.
This is a true story.
Entry for Bluebell Books Short Story Slam: http://bluebellbooks.blogspot.com/2011/05/short-story-slam.html