There have been many dreams throughout life. John Lennon was a dreamer. MLK had a dream. Sleeping Beauty, Ella Fitzgerald, and Emily Nelson (me) are all connected by a little shut-eye.
I dreamed a little a dream last week– a truly surreal experience. Ever since my move to the little big town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, I’ve heard of a festival to rival the others, the Balloon Fiesta. In celebration of the big affair, my best friend flew from Houston to experience it. Sian is a phenomenal photographer whom I have had the distinct pleasure to watch her grow into her own style and develop the most incredible eye for detail. I love photoshoots with her– as having the exact same surroundings yet dynamically different shots, you would think we were worlds apart.
- It would come as no surprise, that we would treat the number one balloon festival in the world with 400 iso film loaded into our 70s cameras.
There is a certain romance to film cameras– the shutter sound, the heavy metal fitting perfectly into your palm, rotating the sleep metal lens to focus on true beauty– ahhhh nothing like it!
When we walked onto the field, boasting of over 600 balloons, our mouths dropped simultaneously to the green carpet of grass. Someone pinch me! The sun began to sink into the horizon and the rolls of film were burning massive black holes in our pockets. Armed for action, our boots hit the grass and what happened next was a complete blur.
OOH Look there!
AHHHHH Perfect Sillhouette!
Do you see the sun hitting the balloon?!
There were times I found myself laying on the ground to get the perfect angle of the balloonist lighting up his balloon, streams of fire entering the silky tent of color. We crouched; we cooed; we swooned for the technicolor bouquet filling our viewfinders. Sian literally took off sprinting at one moment to capture the perfect shot!
The sky, once painted with light and vibrant shades of color, dimmed down for the festivities of a “Night Glow.” Giant balloons were filled with warm fire at the same time and the sheets above acted as beacons of wonder. Once the sky became black and jaded with jealousy for the beauty, Sian and I meandered to a private party were we were accepted without question and promptly served ceviche and multiple glasses of wine. The warming wine contradicted the chilled air, innocently brushing against our shoulders. Our smiles were stretched from ear to ear as we sat underneath Orion’s belt and the other twinkling stars, watching a majestic show of color. The balloons felt silent and without delay, the sky illuminated in steams of glitter and raucous hues. Of course it would end with fireworks.
We made our way back to the buses which would deliver us home and our astonishment precluded us as extreme tourists. Without fail, we repeatedly took turns of saying, “that was so cool!”
And as we crawled into bed on that late evening to sleep to dream, I couldn’t help but think that despite everyone being right about how wonderful the balloon fiesta is..
It’s a bunch of hot air.
& I mean that in the best of ways, naturally.