Walt's Look Around: Hot air balloons - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Hot air balloons

GRENADA, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There are a bunch of hot air balloon festivals around the state every year. Canton and Madison county have one around the 4th of July. Natchez has their's coming up in October. But one particular festival is still in its infancy. Its at Grenada the last weekend of August.  

We, being the inquisitive and explorative species that we are, I suppose ever since people looked up and saw things in the sky, we've always wanted to be up there, too. And the first successful invention that would take us there is still a very popular way to lift off and soar upwards today, the hot air balloon.  

They float on the winds, the ever-changing winds, totally unpredictable. At Grenada over a twenty minute period Saturday morning, lifting off from the same parking lot, balloons at first went the way they sort of wanted to go, kinda toward the north-east. And in no time the later launches were going in the opposite direction.

There is no steering wheel, no rudder. You just float. And since most of the times when hot air balloons fly the winds are gentle, the movements of the crafts can't help but be poetic.  

First time passengers are a little bit nervous about flying. I suppose they should be if they had any sense. But you'll never get up there if you're afraid to fly. And I suppose that could go for more than just riding in hot air balloons.  

I've flown in airplanes. They get you there quickly but you can't see a thing on the way. A helicopter is a lot of fun. You can get low enough to see stuff. But a hot air balloon is different from them all.

Since you are traveling along with the wind, it is eerily still hanging there under the balloon in the basket. But you can see everything from up there. Even shout at people below or wave. But you have no idea where you are heading, other than generalities.  

You have faith that your ground crew will be there to greet you when you do decide to settle back down. And they are. And for a while up there you are free from the earth, you're a part of the wind, you're a line in the poetry of the motion of the world around us.  

It's sort of ironic to me that your mind will tell you and it is true, that flying in a balloon is dangerous and you may die. And I suppose we could choose to play it safe and keep our feet on the ground and live. Or clime aboard and take the chance and REALLY live!

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