Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Magical Hot Air Balloons Send Us Soaring and Set us Down Easy

The last time I rode in a hot air balloon, I was in my twenties. I remember being surprised at how hot it was up there. Our pilot kept a constant watch on the gas levels and the flame which filled the hollow balloon with a blast of heat. The exhilaration of gliding over the pasture land below was well worth the fee we paid for the thrill.

I’ve had a fascination with these colorful “envelopes” ever since. Every year in Missouri, balloonists gather with their gondolas and designer aircraft to share their enthusiasm with other balloonists. When they all take off, it’s a breathtaking spectacle that is both remarkable and unforgettable.

According to Wickipedia, the hot air balloon is the “oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. Are they safe? Today’s balloons have an envelope that is not sealed at the bottom, the envelope is generally made from nylon fabric and the inlet of the balloon (closest to the burner flame) is made from fire resistant material.

“Beginning in the mid-1970s, balloon envelopes have been made in all kinds of shapes, such as rocket ships and the shapes of various commercial products, though the traditional shape remains popular for most non-commercial, and many commercial, applications.”

Shortly after 9/11 I attended a hot air balloon show at Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. All planes were still grounded, including these magnificent aircraft. We walked from one gondola to another greeting the owners and admiring their colorful envelopes that were inflated and ready to fly. Sadly not one balloon was able to launch that day.

In the interim, we were fortunate enough to witness a marriage ceremony of two balloonists. They had met during a balloon conclave, fell in love, and wanted to share their wedding day with the friends who enjoyed the sport as much as they did.

Photographers and artists have discovered the magic and have tried to capture this fascination on canvas and in print. Through imagination and skill, these flyers have managed to make good use of “hot air” unlike many of their counterparts who use it to “B.S.” a crowd in hopes of impressing others or of making a sale.

With an inflated sense of self, these human bulldozers push their way to the top, to the head of the line, or any place where they feel they can shine. The illustration at left shows where their hot air comes from. 
  • The red balloon is filled with hubris from an inflated ego. 
  • The bottom balloon reeks of pride, especially from being green with envy. 
  • The plump orange balloon is inflated with arrogance and a sense of self-importance. 
  • The white balloon at the top is ready to pop from too much bragging. 
  • The last balloon is bloated from exaggeration and excessive gloating over their own skills and talents. They are really blue and lack self-confidence.

 If your personality or profile contains these poisonous gases you should try to get rid of them! they interfere with your ability to listen to others and to learn from your mistakes. But there is still hope.

Take a dart or pin and pop these pesky pimples of disgrace. Replace them as soon as possible with humility, self-confidence, hard work, and honesty. 

Once you do that, you’ll be ready to take advice, share the limelight with others, and pursue your goals independent of the opinion of others.