mercredi, mai 10, 2006

Unbounded wonder

It floated peacefully over the village church, its basket full of human voyagers, and, as it turned out, a dog. From where we sat in our sedan we could see the bright colored squares of the balloon and hear the hiss and roar of the fire heating the air which kept it aloft. Down the block from our general store (which seems to make a profit from pizza, sandwiches and movie rentals) an older woman stood in the street, as fascinated as we were to see the balloon glide above our heads in the gentle light of early evening. We followed it up the road, and lost it near our house. But then it appeared again above a neighbor's roof, and we could once more hear the puff and exhalation of air as the travelers waved to us. After it passed over our heads, my son hopped on his bike. I'm going to follow it, he told me as he took off towards his pal Victor's house. Although my daughter had homework, it couldn't compete with the thrill of the chase, and she took off, too. One cannot manufacture such moments.Perhaps I am too much of a practical woman. I decided that because it was going to rain tomorrow, I must finish mowing the front lawn. When the kids returned an hour later, they were abrim with tales of finding the balloon in a field, the Jules Verne travelers safely returned to solid ground. The pilot, if one may term him that, let them hop into the balloon and take a look at the machinery. They were thrilled. It crossed my mind that in a world which changes so fast, this scene would not have been out of place a hundred years ago. There was a fabulous timelessness about the event: a warm spring night, an old church, a young boy on a bike, and a moment of wonder he may remember long after he is old enough, like me, to chose to cut the grass instead of racing to see if he can watch the balloon land, and meet its earthbound travelers.

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