Serendipity DefinedOur lives are made up of amazing moments, chance encounters, and serendipitous occurrences, but we are not always astute enough to recognize them when they happen. But every once in awhile we are presented with a moment so spectacular in its profundity that we cannot help but be aware of the magnitude of the gift we have been given.
I had such an experience today.
It all started out pretty mundanely; ran a few miles, did a little grocery shopping, made a few stops…ho hum.
But when I returned home in the late afternoon I was greeted with a surprise. There above my house was a hot air balloon, apparently hovering. They are a common sight here, and I had been watching this one for the better part of an hour, as I traveled around town. It struck me that it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. I would find out later that there was no wind today. None. And since they pretty much depend on this natural phenomenon for their impetus it would explain the hovering nature of this one.
Cool, I thought, I will get to see some action on an otherwise boring Saturday. An experienced balloon chaser, I have learned to appreciate the aftermath of the flight. I like to watch them deflate the massive parachute, and it is fun to join in the camaraderie of the crew as they literally wrap things up.
So I quickly unlocked my door, and keys still dangling from the lock I ran through the house and out the back deck door to see that wonder of aeronautics fully inflated just across the street about fifty feet away on the grass adjacent to the pond. It was breathtaking.
It became obvious though that this crew was not in any great rush to clean up and move on. They seemed to be lingering, and I was feeling adventurous, so I approached them. They asked if I would like a ride, if I would like to climb aboard, and I gulped. I am terrified of heights, and yet, this has always been a dream of mine. Once I was assured that the tether was in place (wrapped around a rather burly looking man’s mid-section,) I agreed.
And in that moment when I placed my foot in the lift carved into the side of the basket and swung myself into it, I was both terrified to my core and ecstatic and incredulous all at once.
I was scared, I won’t lie, but I realized too that this was a magical, perhaps once in a lifetime moment, and I was grateful before we ever left the ground.
But oh, when we left the ground…
Imagine ascending, floating, silently and effortlessly, and inhaling instinctively as an overwhelming feeling of lightness overcomes you as you look out at the horizon, your home and your neighborhood and even the mountains in the distance and you realize that you are flying, and more importantly that you are fulfilling a childhood dream, one that until this moment, you were too terrified to even contemplate. But yet here you are, probably because you had no time to even give the whole experience any forethought.
Here you are…flying. You have, for the record, conquered your fear of heights, and more importantly you have put to rest the belief of all the naysayers that miracles don’t happen regularly. You can tell them that they are wrong and that sometimes they happen in your backyard on a Saturday in February, a month typically way too cold for such an adventure. Sometimes they come to you in the form of a middle-aged man in a parka with some time to kill on a windless overcast day.
Every second that I was up there I felt the amazingness of it all. I knew that I would remember those moments for the rest of my life.
After, when I was talking with the crew, they explained to me that the whole day was comprised of a series of highly unusual events: unseasonably warm weather, no wind, the fact that it was a Saturday, that they happened upon a piece of public land that was both scenic and unobstructed, thereby enabling them to land and offer rides free of charge to anyone who happened to stumble by. I was told that this day of ballooning was the result of an incredible series of fortuitous events, including my having been in the exact right place at the exact right time.
I believe life is made up of amazing moments. I experienced some of them today, and I am pretty sure I will never be the same as a result.