“You’re not gonna go down in the water are you? Please don’t go down in the water.” I begged our cousin, Jason.
He just looked at me with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
As we got nearer the pond, he lowered the gondola more and more and… touched down in the murky water. Soon my feet were freezing, as water flowed into the bottom of the basket through the wicker and the hole in the floor.
I let it be known that my feet were cold!
“I told you to wear shoes you could get wet.” Jason teased.
“I know; these are the only shoes I brought along.”
I never really had a dream or longing to go up in a hot air balloon. But when Phil’s brother said we had the opportunity when we came to Oregon in October for their sister’s memorial service, I was excited about it. I asked a lot of people to pray for perfect weather conditions so we could do this. Anyone who knows anything about Oregon, knows weather in the fall is usually rainy.
When we arrived in Oregon there was a drizzle falling from the cloud covered sky. (Welcome home!) We still had five days before the scheduled flight. I kept praying. Friday was a cloudy day punctuated by rain showers. In the evening I glanced out the window, and seeing a break in the clouds, with blue peeking through, I squealed in delight.
My prayers the whole time had been, God please do this for me, for us. I really want to do this with my husband. My faith was soaring higher than a hot air balloon could… I knew with a certainty that couldn’t be shaken that God was going to grant my request.
Saturday morning dawned bright and clear. We were at the table by 8:30 or so, eating breakfast, and still Jason hadn’t called. My faith didn’t waver though, as I knew it could still happen.
The phone rang… it was Jason! Oh my word, when Myron, my brother-in-law, got off the phone and said, let’s go, I was sooo excited!
We quickly finished eating, got ready and left. We met Jason and his wife, Janice at their house and then drove to a field behind a country school.
Because there were only five of us Phil and I helped set up the green, yellow, blue, red, and orange balloon. We stood on either side of the skirt and held it as a huge fan ran to blow air into the envelope.
I enjoyed being a part of the process of getting the balloon ready to ascend. As the air continued to flow in to the balloon, and the balloon rose above the gondola, my excitement rose with it.
I was instructed to climb into the gondola as Myron and Janice held the ropes taut. Then Phil and Jason got in. Pictures were taken of us in the gondola. The smiles on our faces reflected our joy and delight.
There is absolutely nothing like looking up and seeing bright colors above you and gliding through the air on the wind currents, not feeling the movement. It was exhilarating in a quiet way. Thinking about it now, I get tears in my eyes, because God loves me so much that He saw fit to grant me a desire of my heart, one I didn’t really know was there, until we were given the opportunity.
It didn’t take long before we were 300 feet above the ground. Everything looked so small; the chase vehicle and trailer mere dots in the green field. Seeing the patchwork quilt of different fields below was thrilling. Brown fields freshly plowed, fields of green, trees of different types, surrounding the fields.
Phil was snapping pictures. After awhile I asked him if I could take some, too. My favorite is the one I took of a field of yellow and bright orange. I’m not sure what was growing there, but it was a beautiful sight.
At one point we were at 2200 feet, going through a cloud. Being in the cloud was like being wrapped in what I imagine a cocoon would be like.
We were up for over an hour and forty-five minutes, because the wind kept shifting and we couldn’t find a place to land. By the time a place was found and permission given, we had only gone about four miles.
This is an experience I will never forget, and treasure forever.
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