Friday, August 10, 2007

Full of hot air


Up, up and away
London, Ontario, August 2007 [Click to enlarge]


Another London Balloon Festival has come and gone. We took the kids one night to see the launch. It was quite a show: as we arrived, a dozen or so balloons were laid out on the grass of Harris Park, a beautiful piece of land framed by the Thames River on one side and a steep river valley wall on the other. Thousands of people converged on the site, gathering informally around each balloon as the ground crew carefully unrolled the envelope and prepared the equipment for flight. Of all the festivals we have in this burg every summer, this is easily the coolest one.

Organizers sent about a dozen brightly colored airships into the sky that evening. I took over 550 pictures of the proceedings (I know, I'm insane), but what stuck in my mind more than the balloons themselves was the way our kids watched them. They've seen these things before, but this year they weren't afraid of the burners and the billowing balloons. They asked countless questions about hot air balloon flight. They picked up my wife's camera and took their own pictures. They drank in this spectacle that seemed to overwhelm the senses long before the first balloon headed into the sky. They grew.

Their horizons expanded just a little that night, and I got to watch.

Your turn: A childhood experience that stands out for you would be...?

More links: Facebook event, Wiki entry, old Balloon Life article, LondonTopic.ca photo gallery.

19 comments:

Lee Ann said...

My childhood experience that remains vivid in my mind is when our family would drive to St. Louis, Missouri from Birmingham, Alabama every year at Christmas time to visit my grandparents. We would always leave in the wee hours of the morning...cool and dark outside. The weather in Birmingham was on the cool to cold side, but as soon as we got into Missouri, the temperature dropped. Almost every year we would experience a snowy white Christmas. Something we would have not had in Birmingham.

Tiffany said...

WOW Great picture! I want to see more! A childhood experience that stood out for me was going camping with my family and their friends. Thats something I hope to do with my daughter starting next summer.

Tiffany said...

PS michele sent me

BreadBox said...

Balloons are a huge part of Boo and Skibo's life: for a while there was a huge balloon festival every spring just a dozen or so miles from here: the first year, we happened upon it by accident, and it became enshrined in family history as the story of
"Thomas the Balloon" -- which I need to write down... along with a few others I've made up for the sprogs: Thomas and the Chocolate factory, The Three Little Wiggles, the Story of Spinglebopple the Mouse, etc...
Hmm. I think that I may have material for a post or two. Thanks Carmi, for making me think of it!
Come stalk me any time:-) Virtually speaking...

N.

Anna said...

WHAT A VIEW! I love the perspective of this shot!

gautami tripathy said...

I remember going to my first balloon festival in 1974 when I was just a wee kid. We wathce those goggled eyes. So it says in the B&W photos taken then.

But most memorable was going to the circus. I can never forget it.

Mihele insists I share more but for now this is enough.

D.O.M. Dan said...

I remember when my parents moved from a Los Angeles community to a developing suburb which had just been re-named from Dairy Valley to Cerritos. I was seven. There were still dairy farms and cows all around our brand new tract of homes. A few months later, after our lawn grew in, I remember taking our grass cuttings down to the end of the block and placing them in the pasture so the cows would come closer to feed off of them. My sisters and I thought we were living in the country. We didn't realize until much later that it was all part of an ever-growing suburban landscape. The cows were replaced by more houses, parks, schools, and more houses.

Jennifer said...

Carmi, that's just gorgeous. I've always been intrigued by hot-air balloons and would love to take a trip in one! :)
My favorite childhood memories involve my grandparents' house. My grandfather died when I was nine and my grandmother moved, but the time at Grandma and Papa's house was always anticipated and enjoyed :) Papa would buy us sparklers every Christmas (I have no idea where he got them) and we would burn them outside in the cold, on the porch...the heat and the lights were magical!! :)

craziequeen said...

ooh, look at my lovely b'loon.... :-) And what a very sweet message on my blog :-)

What a fantastic picture - glad the munchkins had a good day!

I love balloons....in fact it's our balloon fiesta this weekend! But I prefer to watch them in flight. The balloons were having a dawn lift yesterday, but they were too far away to register on my picture.

cq

netchick said...

*I'm lame*

Sorry, Carmi, I don't really have any that stand out, that are positive. Plenty as an adult (over-compensation, perhaps?)

"love me do..."

Oh, ps: It's a Beatles theme for me tonight!

Hope all is great with you!

Heidi said...

Wonderful photo, Carmi!

Childhood memories that stand out for me are many... and most of them are good! (I am so blessed!) But one that is similar to this awe you described your children exerienced would be when my parents took my brother and I to see John McEnroe play Bjorn Borg in an exhibiton match. Our jaws just dropped!!!

Karen said...

Carmi, as always, you create the most beautiful photographic art! Outstanding photo - definitely frame-worthy!!

I'm visiting the Meet and Greet today so that eveyrone can hear my son's latest album. Stop by and give a listen! You might get a kick out of it.

Karen said...

Oops - forgot to say that Michele sent me, but the M&G comment might have been a clue.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

There were so very many, Carmi. Going to the theatre as a very young person...And concerts and The Opera! Going to The Circus! ALL, life transforning in ways that I had no idea at the time...
That photograph is fabulous! The colors superb! I LOVE that you took so many pictures, Carmi...It makes me feel better about ME taking so many pictures...(I tyhink I've taken 2000 of the hummingbirds if not more....! (lol)

So, you are lonely??? NOoooo! I don't believe that...lol....but, anyway, Michele sent me to say HI!

I am going to try to do the YouTube think late tonight....I pray it works. I thank you again for the instructions.

Chad Oneil said...

Awesome.

Elaine said...

I love the perspective. Wonderful color and lines.

Shephard said...

I love the balloon photo.

Childhood memory that stands out for me... going to see The King Tut Exhibit when I was 14 in the "big city" of Seattle. :)
~S

Kristi Mantoni said...

I would have to say my first trip to Mount Rushmore (that I can remember). When you live in South Dakota, you go to Mount Rushmore a lot but it always amazes me!

Wonderful picture, BTW! Did you go at night? Hot Air Balloons at night are the best!

baby~amore' said...

Brilliant photo - I am intrigued by balloons but I would never fly in one - too chicken.