Hot Air Balloons

by Chelle


I know you share my love of hot air balloons. I'm not sure what it is about them. I started drawing them my senior year of high school. That was the year I dropped calculus for art- the best academic decision I’ve ever made. I remember my  teacher. She was a feisty old bird with frizzy grey hair, who raged around the room in an angry frenzy at the antics of high school art students. But she let me paint. She encouraged me to create. If I had an idea, she’d help get it from my mind to paper. She took me seriously. We built my first hand made canvas, nailing together a custom wooden frame, then stretching canvas across, and finishing it with gesso. To her I could make anything. Because she was a prickly old pear, her opinion meant something. 

That year in between projects I’d sit at the table with my buddy Kyle and sketch hot air balloons and finish them with water colors.  I did a lot with water color, but the hot air balloons stick in my mind. I’m not sure what it was, but I have sketched them ever since. They’re all over notes, paintings, napkins, and journals.

My art teacher, died the next year. She’d sent me off to France telling me to come back with paintings for her. I'd sent her a post card of flowers a few weeks before, water color.  Maybe she got it. 

Tonight as I was jogging through the fields my mind was racing. I was trying to avoid the tangled web of questions that constantly prod at any sense of peace in the present moment, "what am I doing with my life, where is this road taking me, what do I do next, did I screw it all up?"  I kept speeding up to run further away from the noise that’s my mind.  Turning a corner I said, “ God I just don’t trust that you’ve got plans for me” then looked up and saw a hot air balloon.

Had it been anyone else, the hot air balloon wouldn’t  mean a thing. But in that moment the thought flashed across my mind,  “ I’ve got you and here’s a hot air balloon. If I can give you that right now don’t worry about the rest. I’ve got it.” 

And that’s why I know there’s a God. Today it was a hot air balloon. In high school it was an art teacher who took me seriously. That doesn’t mean I’ll get all the answerers to my whirring minds questions. But tonight, sitting here, I'm enjoying the fact that God sent me a hot air balloon. 

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