The sun has barely peeked over the purple mountains as if spraying its golden tendrils across the rocky shoulders of its lover. The air is redolent with the scent of burning cedar from nearby fireplaces, mulched leaves, and the promise of frost--in a word, the morning smells like autumn.
There in the distant horizon, on the other side of town where the sky meets the volcanic earth, you see it: a hot air balloon, the first of many releasing themselves into the sky, happy to be rid of the weighty ropes that tethered them to the earth.
This one is full and fat with yellow and red stripes like those of a circus tent. It looks so small from your vantage point near the mountains as if it were an ornament or earring dangling on a hook from a stray cloud. Yet you know they can be bumbling monsters up close as they coast too near your car on your commute to work or fall apart in your backyard, all heaps of unruly silk and coils of rope. But that is only because their home is in the sky, and like any winged creature, they do not know quite what to do with themselves when they touch the ground.
Still, you admire these tributes to whimsy, kept afloat by nothing more than invention and imagination. You have often wondered what it would be like floating across the earth in a four by four wicker basket (or so you always presume the dimensions to be), guided by the changing winds and a desire to see the world from a new perspective--not much different from your life on land then.
Even so, it would be something to sail from horizon to horizon--or, as you often dream, to another world (one of wonder and imagination, you hope) waiting just beyond the seam where the sky and earth meet in the distance.
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