Today I stepped off the earth for a while… by going up in a hot air balloon. It was strange to see the earth from a (high-flying) bird’s point of view. Traffic roundabouts, railway lines, York Minster. Suburban homes with green-lawned gardens, grand houses with tennis courts and swimming pools. Football players running on pitches, children bouncing on trampolines.
I love to snoop into other people’s ordinary lives – at this time of year in England I love to walk along residential streets at dusk and not-so-discreetly peek in at uncurtained windows. Being in the hot air balloon was similar, but even better, because it also offered that little thrill of adrenaline that comes from doing something human beings weren’t designed to do. I gazed down at the ground and enjoyed the delicious scariness of thinking, ‘What if I jumped?’
It was surprisingly peaceful up there, in between the bursts of flame from the gas jets. We moved at the same speed as the wind, so there was no rush of air past our ears. We drifted silently across the plain of York, everything below us transformed by our new perspective.