I bought a blue balloon today. Light blue in colour, the closest to a turquoise colour that I could find. The balloon, filled with helium, cost me the grand total of a dollar.
I found a quiet garden and took a photo of my blue balloon:
I thought some thoughts and tried to impart them into the balloon. Thoughts with words like love and please and thank you. Words that aren’t really enough, or adequate – but words that are the very strongest of what I have and the very best of what I can do.
I filled the balloon with the words that represented my thoughts.
And then, I let the balloon go.
I watched the balloon float up and away, and I watched the blue of the balloon soak into the blue of the sky. I followed the path it took with eyes that wanted to see it reach the intended recipient. And as it floated higher and higher, I heard a little boy calling out, “Mum! Look! A balloon!”
Which was ironic, because the balloon is for my mum.
* * * * *
Last week, I found a red balloon.
The puckered appearance of a vessel for helium, it still had a string attached:
I wondered about who had released the red balloon, and for what reason. If the string had slipped out of a hand by accident or as a purposeful motion. Was it free? Was it an escapee? Where did it come from? Where was it meant to go? Why had it landed under the clothesline, amongst dried leaves, resting on pebbles?
Was it a good enough landing?
I had no idea where the red balloon had come from, but I took a photo of it as a reminder to tell a story about it. To offer it respect, in acknowledgement of the person who had let it go… just in case.
If you find a blue balloon, it could be the one I released.
Eleven years and two hours ago, my mum was released from the confines of earth and a body that had had enough. This year I decided that drowning in sadness wasn’t helping me to celebrate her. And so, I bought a blue balloon and I filled it with words that tried to match the thoughts that were in my head as I looked at the blue balloon, and thought of her.
The balloon sailed into the air.
Strings attached, yes. But free.