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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 56
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
I Believe in Hot Air Balloons
Edie Herndon
I have a daily ritual that I use to destress and breathe the clear outdoor air. Every day, I traverse the
pasture behind my house with my dog, Goose. He is my personal therapist and so are the endearing
sunsets I encounter. Sometimes, I imagine I am floating in a small, creaky basket in the sky, feeling the
breeze on my face and hearing the fire above making a hush sound whenever it is reignited to make the
balloon go higher. So, although I have never been in one, I believe in hot air balloons. It is a dream of mine
to float peacefully above the earth in a radiant, colorful, floating basket. The sky gives me peace, makes
me feel unstoppable, happy, and faithful in myself.

I know the feeling of failure as well. That invisible cone of shame you feel weighing you down. I
was sitting in the sideways basket on the ground, with that balloon deflated. I had reached rock bottom. I
know because I felt this one day walking to my mom's car, sweating from basketball. I opened her car
door, put my backpack in, hopped in, and shut the door. Tears. That feeling of hopelessness, but also a
feeling of relief. Hot sweat, stingy tears, and most importantly, my mom's warm, snuggly hug. I tried
pushing away, but my mom squeezed “no," so I held on a little longer.

Once my mom let go of me she said, “I know you’ve had a tough week, but I want you to know I
believe in you, and I’m proud of you because I know you’re working hard. I know it’s not quite
Valentine’s Day yet, but I got you your favorite Reese's chocolate.” She handed me a heart-shaped candy
box, and I started to cry some more. We hugged again and belly-laughed together. My spark had been
reignited with my mom's love and support. After we carried on our journey home, I told her everything
that was keeping me down, and she gossiped to me about her co-workers. She giggled, “Wanna hear a
funny story?” and her story went on for our entire forty-minute car ride home. I know this may sound
immature, but my mom was just trying to make me smile. For all I know, she could have made it up on the spot and just kept going with it. But it doesn’t matter because my balloon was off the ground now. My fire was strong, and steadily, my balloon went up. Over the next few days, I worked hard to leave out time for myself but also balance it with working for good grades. Every time I got a good grade, my balloon would go up some, and every time I messed up, or made a bad grade, my balloon would go down.
Now I know, learning to embrace my failures is important because failure is the hardest part of success. Without failure, I wouldn’t be human. Without failure, success would be nonexistent. Without the things that make me happy, I am at rock bottom. Hitting rock bottom is liking sitting on the ground in a hot air balloon, but the higher I go in the sky, the better my life gets. Fire is the power in a hot air balloon, but for me, it is my motivation, my friends, my families, sports, arts, and sunsets. The fire is what wakes me up in the morning. The fire is what tells me I am happy or sad. But most importantly, the fire can be anything anyone wants it to be because the sky is the limit when you’re floating in a hot air balloon.