The Methow Valley moose mosey in the meadows with the magnificent mountains meditating in the misty distance. It’s a special day. Monty’s father, Pappi has come back for a visit.
Monty rushes to his dad’s side and says, “Hey, Dad, look up there! What’s that?”
Raising a knowledgeable eye, Monty’s father tilts his head with its huge velvet-covered antlers toward where his son is looking. “It’s a hot air balloon, son,” he says. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
“How does it stay up there? I don’t hear it, like when I see an airplane.”
“No son, it’s quite different. Hot air balloons are based on a very basic scientific principle: warmer air rises in cooler air.”
Monty’s eyes grow wide with admiration. His dad is SO smart. But in the very next breath, Monty says, “Huh?”
Seeing his son’s confusion, Pappi says, “Can you see the people in the little basket below the balloon?” Monty nods. “Well, they have a burner that heats the air inside the balloon. It doesn’t burn the balloon, but the balloon has to be big enough so the air inside it will lift what’s below it…. the people and the straw basket.”
Pappi says gently, “Close your eyes and pretend you’re in the basket. You’ll hear a very loud noise. It’s the big burner turning on. The basket you’re in rises and as you look down, the trees are below you.” Monty’s eyebrows rise over his closed eyes. He can barely imagine being above the trees, but he tries very hard.
His father whispers, “Now, you’re floating over the valley, and you can see the human cross-country ski trails below you, but they’re getting smaller.” Pappi pauses and closes his own eyes to gather the sensations he has heard from people in the woods when they did not know he was nearby. “When there’s enough hot air to keep the balloon up by itself, they turn off the burner, and all you can hear is silence.” Pappi pauses. He waits. He breathes in the spring air and listens to the quiet. Monty is young, but he is patient, and he listens, too. They stand side-by-side, eyes closed, ears twitching in the happy calm of being quiet together.
At last, Pappi opens his eyes just as Monty opens his. They smile at each other and then at the beautiful balloon, floating above the mountains.
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Every year in early March, the Methow Valley plays host to the Balloon Round Up, now in it's 18th year. Feast your eyes on the season's first Balloon Festival and experience the sights, sounds and learn about the history of Ballooning as the oldest form of human flight. March 6th, 7th & 8th, 2015.
And to reserve a place to stay while you attend the festival Click Here.