by Emma Dering from Lethbridge, AB
Mar 12, 16
When I was a child, growing up in the suburbs of Calgary, hot air balloons were a regular fixture in the morning sky.
Every morning as we drove to school, my siblings and I would press our faces to the window and count balloons.
Sometimes we would count as many as ten or eleven in the sky at once, but even on a slow day, at least a handful swung in the breeze. They always rose over the same hill, and hung overhead like marionettes.
They were, to me anyway, a piece of the landscape, as solid as any rock or hill.
I loved them for the way they united the ordinary with the extraordinary. They were like something out of one of my picture books.
By the time we travelled home from school, the balloons would have disappeared, but that did not stop me craning my neck, making sure I hadn’t missed one. I imagined the balloons spending the night in a stable or a barn. Resting. Getting ready to rise again with the morning sun.
Eventually, they disappeared. Sadly, their disappearance was unremarkable.
They seemed to disappear the same way they had appeared: out of nowhere, sinking behind the hills from which they emerged.
I live in Lethbridge now, and I haven't seen a hot air balloon in years. But I still find myself looking up into the sky, longing to see one. If I did, I imagine I would chase it, propelled to follow it until it dipped away from me, below the horizon.