Seeing is not believing


There are times that I find myself driving along a certain stretch of road near my home. And every so often, as the road rises and falls ever so slightly along hills and imbalances, I get just the right view of the small town ahead. More often than I care to admit, I see a hot air balloon rising just behind the center of town.

A hot air balloon? More often than I care to admit?

Yes. Because it isn’t a hot air balloon and it isn’t rising into the air.

It’s a water tower. Just so happens to be situated in a place where it clears the tops of surrounding trees. And in just the right sunlight, at just the right point on the main road, for an approaching driver the top of the water tower looks exactly like a balloon rising.

The first time I spotted my rising balloon, I was actually out running an errand but had no reason to watch the clock. My morning had no plans that required me to ne in a certain place at a certain time, and the store would be open for hours.

Being new to the neighborhood, I was still getting my bearings. Where does this road lead? Where does that road lead? Where do these roads connect? Normal stuff.

A hot air balloon, for whatever reason, just created an immediate feeling of peace and happiness. I can hardly find better words to describe it than saying simply of my reaction: “Oh look, a balloon.” Yes, that works nicely.

GPS in place, I began thinking about chasing the balloon for a bit. I mean… you know… if I could figure out a way to get a bit closer. And maybe there was more than one. Maybe it was an early morning launching of several balloons.

And so, as I continued my way along the road, I tried to keep sight of the balloon. But it was proving impossible. The trees near it were not the trees on the road near me as my car rose and fell ever so slightly. It didn’t clear all the trees, and my views were obstructed. And the closer I got to town… and closer I thought to the balloon… the less I saw of it.

Honestly, it wasn’t until two or three days later, as I drove the same way at around the same time and saw the same rising balloon that it began to occur to me that perhaps it wasn’t moving at all. That’s when I realized… water tower.

A bit of time. A slightly better view. Reality arrives.

Out near Mount St. Helens, there are trees growing so straight it blurs your vision. An amazing natural beauty to experience. They are, in so many fascinating ways, almost too perfect.

All around our world, in ways both big and small, there are things surrounding us that simply aren’t what they appear to be. And, in some cases, may not be there at all. But we see them. We are in many ways inspired by them and awestruck by them. And yet… poof… not there.

But during a morning drive… with nothing else to do… still pretty great.


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