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Friday, November 14, 2014

Nothing But Hot Air


With all the hot air I've been hearing, it's nice to see some of it put to good use.

I tend to wake up pretty early in the morning, and when I do I work my way through breakfast, brew a pot of coffee, and then move myself up to my office located in the turret room on the second floor of the house. It is still black as night then, especially now that we have screwed around with the clocks. I start up the computer and go through my morning ritual by checking in on my favorite news outlet to see if any scandals have surfaced overnight or to see what the day's news cycle is going to repeat over and over again. I answer my emails, or generate some. Pay some bills, start making a list of stuff I have to buy to continue on some of the many projects I am juggling to get done. I tend to be fairly deep in thought doing all this.

 Let's face it, no one is bothering me. It is quiet at that time. Employees aren't due to arrive for another few hours. My mind is busy.

And then I hear this buzz.Without being conscious of it, the sun has popped above the horizon and started to show some light. So I look out the window and I see that there is a balloon crew setting up on my front lawn. The balloon is completely unfurled and the chase car is pointing towards the bottom of the opening; on the front of which is this huge fan blowing air into the balloon. On occasion Mark, the owner of "Balloon Explorer" (was Virginia Balloons) would go over and give the balloon a quick zap of flame from his propane tank. There is continual straightening of lines, more flames to heat up the internal air, and a gradual lifting of the balloon until it becomes fully vertical.

Today he is giving two female passengers a ride. Must be a bucket list item for them, for they are officers at a local naval base and one of them will be retiring from duty soon.

Things happen quickly now. The three of them jump in the basket. A balloon this size tends to move with the slightest wisp of air. They are nearly impossible to control while still being on the ground; it is best to get them airborne and then only be concerned with the 3 mph breeze pushing them in a southwesterly direction. Height is easily adjusted by those quick bursts of flame that the pilot commands.
I get those "happy waves" from the new adventurers. They have learned my name and, in unison they yell out "Bye Dave". I have seen it many times before, so I give them a quick wave as they rise above my house and get pushed by the wind. The chase car driver picks up any loose items that have been left behind and then comes over and thanks me. He tells me the intended route, about 15 miles towards either Wakefield or Waverly, depending on the winds aloft of course.

But Mark, whom I have known for years, takes a.moment in his flight duties to snap a picture of the winery we are building.  From his vantage point it certainly is a unique perspective. And a nice way to start the day.

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