Every year it’s the same conversation with myself. The inward dialog of, “not this year, I’m not photographing the balloons again this year.” I plot sitting on my deck with my favorite coffee cup filled to the brim and simply watch them glide past. By 6 am the morning of, my eyes wide open… and my camera is calling. I know that if I’m going to shoot, it has to be today. Tomorrow gets to “peopley” so, on go the shoes. Even as I’m heisting myself into my truck the thought… “how many balloon photos does one actually need?” Of course it’s a rhetorical question, is there an actual answer for that? I’m guessing, no! Of course the balloons don’t disappoint. As I was standing on the bridge gazing west, waiting for the first balloon to lift off… I glanced East….. below there were a number of fisherman… seemingly unaware that their routine was about to be inundated by balloons and people and….. as they watched me… watch them… one yelled out, “don’t jump you’ll scare the fish.” His face showed his pride in his humor. I smiled back and assured him his fishing would not be interrupted by me today. I yelled back, “do you know what’s about to happen? He seemed perplexed. I turned away, smiling, happy for what was about to happen.
I crossed back over the bridge facing west as the first balloon began to fill with air…. Snapping photos as it went up… and inched it’s way to where I was. As one crossed above, to my delight a squeal from below… I stumbled back over to see the fisherman delight in the sites. As his gaze met me again, I said… “You’ll scare the fish,” he laughed.
Too many photos later, I walked back to my truck, jumped in, and began negotiating the traffic back to my house grateful that I chose to get up this morning, and make my way down to watch an event I’ve watched so many times before. Still able to find the wonder in it. Still able to capture the moments. Present enough to let the fisherman become part of my story of the day, and me his.
Life offers us so many sweet moments if we are willing to take them. Even if they come wrapped in a way that deceives us into thinking we’ve been there and done it. It was a great start to my day. So up up and away.