Fear of Flying
As I sit here in my office on this gorgeous day in April, it occurs to me that most people have never been in a hot air balloon and many can’t even conjure an idea of why they might want leave the ground in such a contraption. Fair question.
My husband has been an airplane pilot for over 40 years. He’s been a balloon pilot for 25 years. He’s described the sense of freedom, the wonder of being able to leave the ground, the sheer lightness of flight, blah blah blah. It didn’t move me. My feet were firmly and unapologetically stuck to the ground. I didn’t like the feeling of leaving the ground. No way, no how. It wasn’t that I had a fear of the actual flying-that part was pretty cool. But couldn’t we somehow do that on the ground?
Then I got into the basket of a balloon. It was a pretty afternoon in the summer. I threw caution to the winds, so to speak, and decided to see what in the world was so great about this ridiculous endeavor. I was not thrilled, but I was curious. I can still feel the initial lift. Not totally unpleasant, but certainly not thrilling for me. The ground was suddenly 20-30-50-100-500 feet below us. And I was hooked. I became one with the gorgeous landscape. I was a bird, watching the treetops sway beneath me, not even feeling a breeze, just dreamlike movement over the earth, not afraid, but powerful and entranced. **This was ballooning??? What took me so long???**
When I need a mental lift, I imagine that feeling of power and freedom of my first balloon flight.