Monday, June 09, 2008
A Sky Full of Wishes
I did a somewhat bizarre thing today.
I rescued a rather large population of helium balloons from annihilation.
During the noon hour, I volunteered at an event in which a portion of the table decorations were trios of helium balloons. After the event, as we cleared the tables, I noticed the other volunteers beginning to pop the balloons.
I couldn't stand it, "Stop! Stop, don't pop them all!"
"We're done with them, what else are we going to do with them?"
"You want them?"
"Yes! I want them!"
"All of them?"was uttered in disbelief.
"Yes, all of them."
I quickly began grabbing balloon after balloon, my fingers soon were a tangle of brightly colored ribbon. My tightly closed fists were overflowing with ribbons. Ribbons tethered to at least 50 balloons filling the air above my head. I had no idea what I would do with them all, but save them I must.
I truly felt as if I were floating as I took them outside, and filled the back of the mini-van with them. The wind was blowing briskly and I spent several moments hastily stuffing and restuffing the balloons inside the hatch, before they tried to make their escape.
As I was driving back to work, my first thought was a wish. I wished I could fill a rather melancholy friend's home with them. For how can a room full of balloons not give one the gift of a smile? But, alas, he lives too far away for me to do that.
Upon my arrival at work, I gave about a dozen away to my coworkers, flitting from office space to office space leaving small symbols of good cheer along the way.
There were still many many more balloons filling my van though. "What in the world am I going to do with all of those balloons?" I imagined them tied to the railing along my deck, performing a colorful dance around me as I sat admiring them. But today was a storm tossed day, and I knew the bright merry balloons would not dance for long tied to the railings. I knew I had to do something special with them. My next thought was that after work I would take them to a nearby hospital and distribute them there. But by the end of the day, I allowed tiredness to overcome me, and decided I would decide when I returned home.
As I was pulling into the drive to my home, my cell phone rang, my sister calling me. I listened to her tale of woe. I had already received one phone call from my niece, so 'twas an expected call. I am their go between, their listening ear, when things go badly between them. Soon though she tired of her tale, and, as the conversation changed its tone, I asked my sister what she thought I should do with the treasure filling my van.
"Write your dreams and wishes on them. Then let them loose, to fly off, high into the sky."
"What an amazing idea, I love it, that's exactly what I will do.'
For some bizarre reason I was filled with excitement.
I ran into the house to grab a pair of scissors and a black magic marker.
Opening the hatch, I saw the vast quantity of balloons floating inside, and thought, "There is no way I can come up with that many wishes and dreams."
"But, why not give it a try,"said I to me. "Why not indeed," was the reply of me to I.
Reaching in amongst the knotted tangle of ribbons, I grasped one, cutting it away from the bunch, and wrote out my first wish on the face of a purple balloon. Typical of me, it was for my son, the next for my daughter, and then to keep my feelings of good will going, I added one for soon-to-be-ex. Then the wishes seemed to pour from my fingertips through the felt-tipped pen to the face of each balloon. A wish would come to me, I would write, cut, and then let the balloon loose to fly. Watching each one as it wibbled and wobbled its way skyward. Soon each would begin to gain altitude, and, each time, I would think, "This one will catch it's ribbon on a tree branch." Or, "This one will hit the roof of the shed and pop before it reaches the white clouds above." But each, each, and every one soon found itself flying farther and farther, higher and higher, until it was eventually beyond my sight. Each wish, silly though it may be, was aloft, let loose, to drift about in the heavens above my head. And several silly wishes there were. Soon though, for a few magical moments, I allowed myself to believe, I opened myself up to all the impossible possibilities that fill our universe.
As I was writing, cutting, and watching each wish fly off high, and higher, my phone rang once again. It was my niece, this time, it was she who needed to talk, needed to vent. I stopped my wishing as we spoke, as I wanted to concentrate on what she had to say. But then something came over me, and I stopped her rant mid-sentence. I asked her for one wish, one wish she wished for today. After some moments of thought, she said, "I wish my life were easier." I wrote it upon a balloon, cut the ribbon loose from the knotted tangle, and let it fly. "One wish flying off to meet you," said I. "Cool," said she. In that one word, I heard a smile.
We soon ended our conversation, and, I then turned back to the task at hand. I was sure I had no more wishes, believing too quickly that my wishes must have run dry. There were so many balloons left, surely I could come up with a few more. Or, mayhap, I could clump all the balloons together for one final really big magical wish? No, these are special balloons, thought I. Each one must have its very own wish written upon its side. One wish each, to float off into the heavens with.
From that point onward, it seemed I had a never ending supply of wishes and dreams for myself, and all the many others I love in this world. I even wrote out the wish that the balloons I let fly would cause no harm in their flight or landing.
Sooner than I had expected, I was down to the last balloon. One last wish. What is it to be? I had let fly so many wishes. Silly wishes, protective wishes, loving wishes, dreamfilled wishes. This last one though, was hard in coming. Did I have a really big wish? One that could accomplish more than my small wishes could?
At last I found it, the one big wish. Or, I thought I had. I started to write, "A world filled with peace is what I wish." But no, that's too big, impossible more like. Instead, I wrote a wish for my fellow countryman, and for me. A wish, that just might come true. If it does, I wonder, will I remember my sky full of wishes this day.
A really silly way to spend an hour of my day one might say. But, it was the best hour. Midway through it, I became lighter, I couldn't stop smiling, as I dreamily followed each balloon with my gaze until it was no longer visible. It was if I were flying high, and higher still, as if my spirit was soaring with each balloon carried away by the wind. In my imagination, I was beaming love, joy and good wishes all around, as I floated through the clouds.
I am smiling inside and out, because for a few special moments, I made magic today.