Full of Hot Air

Typically the term, full of hot air is used in a derogatory fashion. For example, “Don’t pay attention to her, she’s full of hot air.” Not so at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic that takes place annually on Labor Day weekend. In fact, it’s a requirement!

The sound of hundreds of dragons breathing fills the air as spectators get an up close and personal look during inflation and liftoff. And while these ginormous bags of hot air look a bit unwieldy on the ground, they exude delicate dignity as they float gracefully against the backlit morning sky.

No strings attached, the pilot and passengers aren’t tied down to anything; they’re quite literally untethered.

Do you have any strings attached?

© lauriebuchanan.com

47 thoughts on “Full of Hot Air

  1. Yes, full of hot air really is something when you get to be up close and personal with the hot air balloons. Really enjoyed this post and the photo was beautiful. They really are something special when you witness a mass ascension.

  2. Hi Laurie

    I’d like to challenge the idea of no strings.
    Having done some ballooning, there are a lot of strings between the bag and the gondola, without them, no flying.
    Without gravity holding us down, we would float off into space, and suffocate.

    Len and I have both done our share of flying, being as un-tethered as it is possible to get, and survive – and I always wear my seatbelts when flying.

    So being able to attach to, and let go of, things, as and when needed, is an important aspect of choice and survival and freedom.

    I have attachments to lots of things, and in most cases I can be flexible about them, and let them go when the need arises.

    And I do love flying, and I do love sailing, and both require a degree of attachment to a certain minimum set of technology if one is to survive the experience (as a friend of mine was fond of saying – falling never hurt anyone, its the sudden stop at the end that does the damage).

    • Olga — It reminds me of the old Mounds candy bar commercial: “Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.” Same could be said here: “Sometimes you need the strings. Sometimes you don’t.” 🙂

  3. Laurie, I’m worshipping these days in a church designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1960’s. It has an enormous concrete flange (I’ll call it that), suspended over the altar, held up by strong cables and many strings, which at first I didn’t see. Without those strings, I imagine, disaster could strike. Gives us something to contemplate along with the liturgy. The cable attached firmly, we soar.

    • Shirley — The church you described sounds lovely. I hope to see photographs on your blog at some point. Your last sentence, “The cable attached firmly, we soar,” brings to mind a lovely umbilical cord attached to God 🙂

  4. I still have strings attached to our former house for sale. We have an offer but until all the dots line up, the house is still ours. It’s just a temporary attachment, however.

    Another “string attachment” is the heartstrings attached to a family member I’m saying goodbye to in the coming months. Love is eternal and so is this attachment.

    The hot air balloons you posted remind me of ascension, a not unpleasant thought.

  5. I’m working at the last few strings that I’m attached to. I may keep a few though, I’m VERY attached to them. I’d LOVE to hear all of the dragons breathing at the same time!

  6. It was a thrill to take my first (and so far only) hot air balloon ride several years ago in Vail, Colorado. Dragon’s breath, what a whimsical and lovely metaphor Laurie, for the sound of the air filling the cavity of the balloon. And then, the great release of ropes (strings) followed by the lift into the air. Finally, we enjoy the great quiet and broad vistas of the sky view. The glory of the flight is ultimately rudely broken by the harsh fall and hit as we encounter the ground. On a personal level, I believe we all have strings. The strings are connections to our life sources, our early beliefs, our educational foundations, our family traditions, and so much more. Some of those strings we let go of as we move through life. Other strings are modified with new flags of understanding. Of course, we also adopt new strings of many types, wisdom born of experience (strings of guidance), loves we’ve known (strings of joy, reflection, growth), learning strings of many varieties. Some of the strings may hold us unnecessarily; others may only ride along with us (quietly there) on our life flight. The ultimate value of the strings is in our discernment and choices around how to use them.

    • Audrey — I love the word picture you painted of your hot air balloon ride! And I strongly resonate with your summary regarding strings:

      “The ultimate value of the strings is in our discernment and choices around how to use them.”

  7. For my birthday a few years ago, my hubby gave me a hot air balloon experience as a gift. It was just the best gift!! I will never forget the feeling of lightness as we glided across the fields. There are times when we need to be untethered and times when we need something or somebody to hold us up. The trick is to learn the balance.

  8. Such a beautiful picture. In answering your question….I would say I do have strings attached. They are heart strings worn like apron strings and my children are attached to them. I wish they could stay attached forever, but know deep down…strings attached are sometimes not a healthy thing. Great post…and sorry I was so behind on my reading. I was in mourning of the summer ending as you can see by my last blog post but am slowing inflating again ready to re-enter the atmosphere like a balloon….Tina

    • Tina — I absolutely understand. At 33 my son is a grown man. I can’t begin to tell you how our hearts soared when he moved to Boise to be near us. He’s only a mile down the road but we work at (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) respecting the short distance and his independence.

  9. No strings attached here I’m footloose and fancy free! Hot air balloons are cooler than Laurie’s basement! When the Derby rolls around every year I make sure to go to the balloon glow and the morning of the hot air balloon race the skies turn into floating billboards and artistry!

  10. Loved your thoughts on the “strings attached”, it naturally put me in mind of your new book, “Note To Self” and the baggage we carry, willing or not, during our lives. In my lifetime I’ve tied and untied many of the strings that held me firmly to people, places and things. The are times when I have felt like Gulliver, so restricted by the Lilliputian lines he couldn’t turn his head or lift a finger. Times that I have cut the strings so thoroughly that I was afraid I might drift off to the point of no return. My recent move from Georgia to California has been such a throwing off of the anchor lines, the Winds of Circumstance have blown me far away from Home and there are days when I feel very much like Dorothy in Oz, hoping for a favorable wind to keep the Balloon afloat and in familiar territory. Loved the Picture!

    • Sandi — Thank you for sharing your thoughts on “Note to Self,” it was such a joy having you as one of the advance readers.

      Your cross-country move changed so many things for you: oceans, environment, weather, planting zones, doctors, dentist, and even though you have long blonde locks, finding a new hairdresser for when you get a trim.

      You’re digging your toes in admirably. Having seen photographs of what you’ve done in your backyard alone is evidence that you’re ready for the long haul.

      The beauty is that you haven’t cut any family ties and can visit kith and kin whenever the mood strikes your fancy. Further, it gives THEM a wonderful and completely different place to visit 🙂

  11. The balloon festival must have been an incredible sight! I love the photo.
    “Hot air” makes me think of a particular political candidate.
    But strings, especially heartstrings that Marian mentioned–oh yes, those are strong and binding, and I am bound willingly there. 🙂

  12. I would love to have a ride in a hot air balloon! Do you go to watch or to ride? And in answer to your question, when it comes to friendship and family, I am mostly no strings attached. I believe freedom and love go hand in hand, and the best kind of love is a gift given without requirements. But of course, there’s a balance to everything, and boundaries are important, too.

    • Lucida — In this instance, we went to watch. I love the wisdom of your observation: “…freedom and love go hand in hand, and the best kind of love is a gift given without requirements.” Yes, indeed 🙂

  13. I love the new twist in the expression… makes much sense 😀 Beautiful photographs. Also I was thinking that the processes of inflation and liftoff might apply to ourselves and our changing moods & energies, somehow…. wishing you a agreat wednesday, Laurie Aquileana 😉

  14. That looks amazing but I’d be terrified to go up because of my fear of heights . I have a great need for solitude and personal freedom . Most people I know respect that, especially my husband , for that I am grateful .
    But I must be guilty because I am constantly cutting stings linked to those I love . Once cut I smile and run . Once I have my freedom …could be for as little as ten mins …less in some cases I m happy ?

    • Cherry — It’s wonderful when we have people in our sphere of influence who understand our needs, especially the need for solitude and personal freedom.

      Ten minutes of alone time? I’d cut and run too 🙂

  15. I most certainly do! My writing has piled up like a hoarders house of cats and I’m cutting strings, bit by bit. I’ve took the first giant leap. Now just a few more snip snips and then I will let go of my next bag of hot air!

  16. Always uplifting the spirit to see these balloons rise. We recently watched a balloon platoon rising over the stupas in Myanmar — the slanting dawn just the right light as they rose silently over a spiritual landscape. A beautiful photo here!

  17. Another beautiful and thought provoking post, Laurie. I love the silence and grace of the hot air balloons. They have no visible ‘strings attached’, but they never leave the Earth out of their sight 🙂

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