Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Maine

This week marks my one year anniversary of living in Maine. I might've let that slip by without really thinking about it all that much if it hadn't been for this morning.

I was up early. Very early for me. I was up at 7:00 AM--a time I don't have to see during the school year, and a time really don't have to see during summer break. I was bleary-eyed and irritated about having to be up. The night before was a pretty big night at the Olympics, and I'd stayed up late watching the gymnastic competition and, later, a backload of things that had clogged up my DVR. I couldn't get myself to fall asleep. I knew I had to be up in the morning for a dentist appointment since my mid-afternoon appointment on Wednesday had been canceled because my dentist was sick--still, this did nothing to prompt me to fall asleep.

So, understandably, I was a little out of it this morning. After my shower, I was pouring myself a bowl of cereal when I heard the first of several blasts of what sounded like a high-powered hose, something that might be used in a self-serve car wash. It is 7:15 AM, I thought. Who the hell is washing his car right now?

I poured myself the cereal and bent down to pet the cat when I heard it again. Woosh! Woosh! Woosh!

I went to the window to look down over the driveway next door, but when I got to the window, what I saw had nothing to do with car washing or water. What I saw was a giant hot air balloon hovering over the tree line. It was so close I could hear the sound of the fire blasts pulsing into the balloon.

"Oh!" I said. That was surprising enough--a hot air balloon so close to my window--but then I heard another set of wooshes, and when I turned just slightly I saw two more balloons floating above the river. One looked dangerously close to crash-landing in it.

And that's when I remembered what was going on. It was the annual balloon festival. It had been going on during my first few days in Maine last year, and as I was driving around town trying to get a feel for things, I kept seeing hot air balloons scattered among the clouds.

And now they were right outside my window. And later, when I was finally dressed and ready to go to my appointment, I stepped outside and the whole sky was filled with them. Purple, red, blue, black, yellow, and pink balloons were rising in the morning sky. That's all you could see. Balloon after balloon after balloon. I tipped my head up in the sky and tried to count them all. It was dizzying.

Several of my neighbors were out in the street, pointing their fingers up to the sky, wriggling greetings to the passengers of the balloons who were waving hello! hello! hello! before turning their faces to the rising sun.

It was one of the prettiest things I'd ever seen, that sky dotted with so many colors. And standing there in the early morning, I was actually glad my dentist had moved my appointment so I could wake up and see all this, so I could start my day with so much beauty rising up in the air. I think it was the best way I could have celebrated one year of living in a state filled with some of the best things I've ever, ever seen.

Great Falls Balloon Festival

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