The Magic of Balloons
I was gifted magic today.
There is an intersection just before my house where the township road intersects a busier county highway. The sight lines are bad, mainly because the road was constructed when the speed of a vehicle depended on true, four-legged horsepower and there were more tolerant margins of error. I pulled up to the stop and then slowly inched ahead; the bushes on my neighbour’s property have become overgrown and obstruct the left side view, requiring one to creep slowly outwards, ever vigilant for traffic that could appear from the hidden recesses of the blind hill that compounds the overall problem. This corner has been the site of many accidents and as a result, it is approached by locals with hyper vigilance and caution.
I came to a stop; I glanced right and was just about to turn my head to glance left when a slight movement caught in the corner of my eye. The movement was light, delicate, almost dancer like; I stared.
Floating gently down the exact middle of the road, as if somehow invisibly attached to the yellow line was a pink balloon. I gauged it to be about 6 or 7 feet above the pavement; it was upright and its light pink skin had a delicate sheen from the sunlight. It was slightly left of the intersection moving slowly west; I instinctively looked left and right, afraid that a vehicle would appear and collide with it, breaking the spell, but no vehicle appeared. The breeze which was already light seemed to grow even lighter and the balloon balancing on invisible air currents reached the middle of the intersection and momentarily seemed to pause. It hovered, almost eye level with me, for what seemed like minutes but was probably only seconds, and then very slowly it continued its gentle, dancer like progress westward, slowly rising as it went, until it reached tree top height and, perhaps the air currents being stronger up there, picked up speed and was gone as magically as it had appeared.
I sat for a while before turning the corner, processing what I had just experienced; there was no reason, no explanation for the balloon. No one in my 6-house neighborhood had celebrated any milestone; there was no cause for balloons from which an exuberant one could escape and voyage out to explore the world. Yet here it was – soft pink, perfectly formed and floating so gently and effortlessly down the middle of the road. I am sure there are excellent scientific explanations related to wind currents and barometric pressures and a host of other infallible factors that would not only explain its presence but it’s gentle, calming interaction. But I don’t want to know them.
I believe it was magic. I believe that I was randomly gifted the beauty of the unexpected and the beauty of wonder. It was a 30-second moment that is now forever etched in my happy memories. And it has made me wonder: how many pink balloons, how many moments of magic do we miss each day? Miss because we are so intent, so full of purpose, so set on our course, so programmed to be present and show up, to live life to society’s expectation of what is a good and full life, that we miss the magic; we miss the pink balloons.
Magic isn’t scheduled; it isn’t planned; it doesn’t conform to our agendas, calendars or date books. Magic just is.
If we open our hearts, our minds, our souls to the beauty and wonder of this world that we live in; if we take 5 minutes to just be, to let go of what we are told we need to do or we need to feel or we need to think; if we just be, just simply and purely be; there will be magic: quiet, beautiful, perfectly imperfect magic.
Believe in the pink balloons.
Believe in the magic.
Founder & Creator of INSPIRE : The Women’s Portrait Project