I've never actually met any asthmatic dragons. That doesn't keep hot air balloons from making me think of them, though, with the wheezing sound they make as the propane burners light, and the hiss of hot air from nowhere, bare seconds before a glowing behemoth drifts into view across the roofline.
One of those gasping breaths sounded the other morning as I was pouring tea in the kitchen. I ran out onto the patio to look, mug in one hand, camera in the other, to see a whole fleet of balloons (a float? a bubble? What is the collective noun for a bunch of balloons?) sailing by. Albuquerque is a mighty fine place for hot-air ballooning, and it's not unusual to see one or two on a pleasant morning shortly after sunrise. To have seven or eight of them gliding past en masse, though, is rare except during the International Balloon Fiesta.
As I wrote last year, seeing them in flight awakens the urge for discovery, for travel into the unknown, for going anywhere so long as it's yonder. Some crisp autumn morning when the cottonwoods in the bosque are glowing with their own internal sunshine, I'd like to go ballooning and follow the trees down the Rio Grande like a migratory bird. In the meantime, watching the balloons go past reminded me again of the pleasures of looking up, up, up, when often the focus in the garden is out or down.
In my last post, I embarked on a quest to evoke a greater sense of space—of airiness and light—in my garden, and Diana of Elephant's Eye asked in a comment whether I could make use of any borrowed scenery. I do have little bits of views here and there, a snippet of the Sandias, a snatch of downtown, but not much that can be seen while seated on the patio. My garden very much needs to be a resting place; the seated views are the ones that matter most. From the Adirondack chair I can see rooflines and satellite dishes, the very tips of young trees, and not much else—or so I thought. Then I looked farther up.
Oh. Yes, I'd say that's some scenery I could borrow.
Why didn't that occur to me before? New Mexico and skies go together like, well, like scrambled eggs and green chile.* Even in the mountains, sometimes the most spectacular views happen overhead. Perhaps the best thing I could do to create a sense of open space—not as a substitute for airier planting, but as a complement to it—is to provide reasons to look up.
If all else fails, lying down in a reclining chair would probably do the trick just fine.
* With a little melted cheddar, all rolled up in a lightly toasted tortilla. Yum.