When I covered the Lincoln, Illinois Balloon Festival taking place this weekend, August 22-24th, I saw that they were offering hot air balloon rides. This has been on bucket list for a couple of years, the thought of floating over fields and forest has long been a dream of mine so I didn’t hesitate when I saw openings for the Sunday morning slot. My dedicated husband that wasn’t too sure about the whole thing accompanied me to the Logan County Airport for the 5:45 a.m. meeting where we met up with our pilot Tony and his crew.
We traversed the countryside to a park in Elkhart for the launch. Three other ladies, a grandmother, daughter and grand daughter were all riding celebrating a year anniversary of a very private victory. The three and family and friends began the launch with a toast. I soon found out they were from neighboring towns and we had a lot of acquaintances in common.
The whole process is like an aerial ballet. The unfurling of the balloon, the filling with air and flames shooting out to the rising as the balloon inflates. We luckily had the only balloon that had a door so we just had to duck. Keith shot pictures and followed the balloon while the ladies, Tony and I soared into the wild blue, blue cloudless sky.
Before we knew it we were at 1500 feet and floating. Balloons were floating all around us, the sky over I-55 was filled with early morning riders. Fields and farms looked like patch work quilts below. Anyone that has ever been to Dyersville, Iowa to the National Farm Toy Show and saw some of the farm layouts would have a perspective of our view. Beautiful and serene the ride was like standing still in the air with scenery moving by.
I loved every minute of the ride. The landing was a bit bumpy, Tony warned us to hold on and we bounced down into a hay field without too much of a jolt. Keith and the crew were waiting to pick us up. Tony and his crew poured us a mimosa toast and we raised our glasses to a dream off a couple of women’s bucket lists and to celebrating life in all of its fragility.
God’s heaven laid at my feet
His glory crowned the sky
His miracles did greet
Us as we headed out to fly
Minutes out of a day
Seconds out of a year
I took the time to weigh
The little blessings that are here.