We’re six writers, currently tethered in the not-yet-published phase. We’re all unique, with varied strengths and quirks and styles. We realize that we won’t all publish at the same time, but when it happens to one or another of us, we’ll root for each other to soar.
On Saturday at dawn, my husband and I went to the Plano Balloon Festival. An early patrol of three balloons was scheduled to take off, followed by the main launch at 7am.
Armed with coffee, pack chairs, a blanket and camera, we scouted out a spot on the still-dewy grass. Above us in the clear dawn sky, patterns of stars glittered, all different, all beautiful.
A field of roughly ten acres spread in front of us, where the real action was set to begin. Sipping our coffee, we watched as three trucks creeped across the field and scouted their spots. Once parked, a few passengers exited each truck and began the well-practiced dance of off-loading baskets, balloons and equipment.
And the dance was mesmerizing. First the crews placed the baskets on the ground and attached frames. Then they tipped the baskets on their sides, secured the deflated balloons and unrolled them into a long train. Cool air expanded the fabric into half-domes on the ground. Then torches of hot air filled the balloons to capacity and the globes were raised to standing. But even with all this preparation, the dawn patrol was grounded. The wind was not ready for them.
Soon, a parade of trucks fed in from the side of the field, claiming spots on the field for their launch. Each off-loaded their showpieces, readying for their part in the display. One by one the balloons were filled, until the acreage bubbled over with thirty or so spheres of color, all bursting with enough strength to take off. A snowflake assortment, each one fashioned into its own pattern and shape. Its own personality.
One boasted a background of yellow, Texas flags circling the bottom curve. Another smaller balloon sported a red background, striped with blue and yellow insets. Still others inflated, rainbow-colored checks, sunset oranges and reds, swirls of purple and gray. A clown face, a ladybug, teardrops and egg shapes. They tugged fiercely, trying to leap from the ground, while the crews kept them pinned in place, until they were in perfect form. Until the time was right.
And one by one they launched, some higher than others, some slower. But they all got off the ground.