Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Expand (07/18/13)
TITLE: Riding The Wind
By darlene thompson
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The pilot called for us to come aboard. He opened the flame. A swooshed belched into the atmosphere and the balloon slowly ascended. Up, up, we traveled for several thousand feet. Below, the mountains draped themselves with the bluish tint of the Blue Ridge, rivers doffed their white caps, and the pastures danced in emerald green. We watched the shadow of our balloon reflect against the land below. It seemed like we were chasing our own shadow. The pilot leveled off and we descended to about 500 feet. Our ride felt like we were sitting in a rocking chair floating on a cloud.
As we sailed along, conversations from below floated to our ears. Little did the people realize their voices carried their messages upward. We heard every word! In a nearby field, cows discovered us and mooed loudly as they retreated to a nearby barn. Birds flew by with a quizzical look as if to say, "where are your wings?" The pilot maneuvered us to a peach tree where we grabbed the golden bounty and laughed with delight as our chins dripped in sweet peach juice.
After about an hour, the wind died down. As we cleared a small hill, a sudden gust swept us away from our landing point. The balloon spun toward a vineyard. The pilot pulled on the lines to move the balloon back to the field. Our mouths fell open as a man yelled, "Get away from my vineyard!" His booming voice was bad enough but in his hands he held a shotgun. Our pilot screamed back, "I have to go with the wind. I doing the best I can!" Finally, with several more tugs on the lines, our pilot landed the balloon in a field away from our unfriendly neighbor. The chase truck sped toward us. Quickly, we packed up the envelope, basket and jumped into the chase truck.
Riding the wind fulfilled my dream. As John Gillespie Magee said, "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth, Put out my hand and touched the face of God."
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