“Use every person’s skill set to the fullest. Both optimists and pessimists contribute. An optimist invents the hot air balloon, and a pessimist invents the parachute.”
The annual Lancaster Hot Air Balloon Festival kicked off on Friday, Sept. 8 and eager to capture some images of the balloons, I drove out to Bird-In-Hand, a small tourist town in Lancaster County. I arrived with my friend Corinne, who was visiting from Virginia. Upon our arrival, most of the flight attendants were packing up and rolling up the envelopes. Due to threatening storms that promised strong winds, lightning, and heavy rain, pilots grounded their aircraft. We were disappointed but understood that safety was more important than the flying envelopes being free to roam through the sky.
Only one red balloon dared to fly, tethered to the ground in case of danger. An older gentleman in the seat that was situated where the gondola would be lifted up and down, bouncing and floating in the air, amid festival attendees.
As he flew above my head, I thought about the view from above, and what he was seeing, how it felt, and what he learned upon returning to the ground about the world around him. To ask these questions of myself is something I continued to think about and journal the next morning.
How can I change my perspective to see the bird’s-eye view? I could look over the choices I’ve made as just part of the amazing journey of life, and that I’m really just in the beginning of what adventures are to come. Instead of thinking of mistakes I’ve made, take the perspective that all the decisions I’ve made, to go to art school, to become a journalist, to want to be a photojournalist and work for newspapers at a time when they are on the brink of demise, every choice made me the person I am today. The lessons I have learned, and continue to learn, craft the unique individual who is now an accomplished writer, artist, and creator. I’m proud of my ability to challenge myself to see the experiences as a necessary component.
I’m not saying that I didn’t learn from my mistakes, I did. Some really hard life lessons made me a stronger, independent, and a confident woman who will stand up for myself and those I care about. As I learn this year, to love myself more, and to raise my standards about the environment, people, and things surrounding me, I am encouraged by the perspective of the bird’s-eye view to be the change in my own life. It’s up to me to take the balloon and fly and trust that the parachute will catch me. If I use the tools I already have, and just change my attitude about what is possible in my own life, that’s the view I want to see.