Festival

The sky is aglow this morn.
Floating quilt of primary colors
myriad shapes and sizes
blankets the bright blue overhead.

Row by row, baskets peopled
by those akin with adventure
fires stoked, ropes cut, they rise
to gas gusting sounds and cheers.

And we are left behind
we who stood the ground
arid browns and taupes,
dry earth and tumble weeds.

Thermos empty, dusty mouth
a vague sense of wish-I-was-there
mind dulled with lack of sleep
I crane my neck again

and wonder,
why am I here
and they are out there
soaring with their dreams.

2001-Albuquerque-International-Balloon-Fiesta-02

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, hosted by Mish. She asks us to write a poem related to the Southwest — and she has strong ties to New Mexico. A number of years ago I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the hot air balloon festival. I went out before dawn and helped folks with their balloons, readying them for flight. Watched as wave after wave of balloons fired up and lifted into the sky. An amazing sight indeed.

59 thoughts on “Festival

    • lillian May 3, 2016 / 3:13 pm

      It was exhilerating to see all the colors — all floating above! πŸ™‚

      Like

  1. Glenn Buttkus May 3, 2016 / 3:13 pm

    Wow, what a day you had. Hot air balloon rides are def on my bucket list; though my vertigo would probably ruin it. Thanks for the scrumptious imagery & shared fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 3, 2016 / 3:32 pm

      Glad you enjoyed, Glenn. Smiling I am.

      Like

  2. Linda Kruschke May 3, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    I think I would prefer to be in the balloon than to be left on the ground, too. This was a wonderful memory told with such poetic word choices.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Grace May 3, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    Wow, that must have been a sight ~ I wish I was there watching and cheering too (not riding as I will get dizzy)~ Specially admire how you describe the west with:

    arid browns and taupes,
    dry earth and tumble weeds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 3, 2016 / 3:34 pm

      Thank you, Grace. That area of the country is truly remarkable in its muted yet somehow vivid coloration.

      Like

  4. kanzensakura May 3, 2016 / 3:58 pm

    I hope you visited again and this, time soared. I am terrified of flying, balloons….not heights mind you. just being not in control. but they are beautiful. A little south west of us is a small, beautiful lake town. Every year they have a festival which includes hot air balloons. One landed in my mother’s garden (years ago). She was majorly pissed for they knocked down her okra. they were surprised that we were not delighted. My mother had two words for them yankee idiots – and called them that several times. they were afraid to leave the gondola and finally got afloat again. She had to buy okra that year….and complained every time.

    Liked by 1 person

      • kanzensakura May 3, 2016 / 11:32 pm

        Hey, okra is sacred in the south! Messing with my mama’s okra (or tomatoes or butterbeans) was a cause for war. Poor thing. I wish she still had that in her and that plot of garden. But I do!!!! Somebody messes with my okra and you’ll see a little round woman waving a sword and yelling, Yankee idiots!!! LOL

        Like

      • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:47 am

        ditto! πŸ™‚ HUGE grins here!

        Like

    • Bodhirose May 3, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      Me too, Toni! This is hilarious…with all due respect to your Mother and her okra…

      Liked by 1 person

      • kanzensakura May 3, 2016 / 11:26 pm

        Hey, in this part of the south, okra is a holy plant. When my cat died a few summers later, her grave flowers were beautiful yellow okra blooms. I felt I could do no better homage to her.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bodhirose May 4, 2016 / 12:43 am

        I understand, Toni…I grew up loving okra and truly their flowers are lovely. Your kitty was well represented by them.

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      • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:48 am

        well….ditto with respect to your mother Toni, but not to okra! 😦

        Like

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:47 am

      Just getting to my reading this morning — with a delicious cup of coffee here — and chuckling out loud at your story here and the comments that follow it! πŸ™‚ How I would love to have been there to see your mama tellin this Yankee what to do with his balloon!!! πŸ™‚ Feisty woman indeed! A great family story that I hope has been told to many in the oral history mode πŸ™‚
      And I must say, not being a lover of okra — in fact the opposite — given the slime that oozes from this vegetable, I’m very glad to know it at least begins with a beautiful flower! πŸ™‚

      Like

      • kanzensakura May 4, 2016 / 3:53 pm

        You never had it fixed correctly then! A wonderful veggie…steamed, pickled, fried, in salads, in gumbos….the flower is like a huge yellow hibiscus. They are in fact, related.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kanzensakura May 4, 2016 / 3:57 pm

        As an addendum, I sent a jar of home pickled, small okra pods to a friend in California. They replaced the olive and liquid in her dirty martinis.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lillian May 4, 2016 / 4:02 pm

        Really??? I obviously have not learned the correct way to appreciate them!

        Like

      • kanzensakura May 4, 2016 / 8:46 pm

        She would cut one into slices, put a couple on a thoothpick, add a splash of liquid. She offered to pay me for several jars to take to a party. One doesn’t charge a friend for such. All I asked was to replace my jars, which she did. She died a year ago this 05/15. I am pleased I shared tomatoes from my garden, pickles, jam, canned tomatoes and green beans. I miss her. I still haven’t opened the box of jars she mailed back two weeks before she died. We do these things for family, don’t we? It was a joy to introduce her to Southern food and home grown tomatoes.

        Liked by 2 people

      • lillian May 5, 2016 / 9:00 am

        Sweet memories….and you’ve got me recalling our large gardens when we lived in Iowa. Nothing like the taste of the first tomato right out of the garden….or that first ear of corn. YUM! πŸ™‚

        Like

      • kanzensakura May 5, 2016 / 11:57 am

        That first tomato…A sacred event. Before I eat it, I bow my head and give deep thanks. We have a tender white corn around here, like perfect luminous pearls, Super Fantastic. You can easily eat it raw. It is so sweet that when I make my dessert corn pudding, i add no sugar. And the tender new cucumbers…be still my heart. I put mine up on a lattice to save space and make it easier to pick them. Our neighbors keep several chickens. Lol, no eggs but they don’t care. They their eggs from the same farmer I do!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. therisa May 3, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    Lillian, your poem reminded of the balloons that gather, near Barrie, Ontario, and the spectacular images of them, taking off and floating upwards, upon the wind currents. Personally, I wouldn’t take a ride, given my extreme phobia, around heights. Thank you, for sharing this fond memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:51 am

      It is an amazing visual — the colors themselves are uplifting. And in Albuquerque, I was surprised to see all the shapes too! Even one that was a cow!

      Like

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:52 am

      Glad you liked it! But I must say, what’s bringing the traffic to this poem is Toni’s wonderful response! πŸ™‚ Laughing out loud indeed! She brought life to that slimy vegetable known as okra πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. Mish May 3, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    I can relate to the images you describe here and it was a number of years ago for me too. Perhaps it was the same year! I especially liked….
    “Floating quilt of primary colors
    myriad shapes and sizes
    blankets the bright blue overhead”
    How wonderful is that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:53 am

      So glad you enjoyed, Mish. It was a wonderful prompt and had me looking back at our photo albums and reliving many of our hikes out that way.

      Like

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:53 am

      Great! I’m happy to exhilarate! πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed.

      Like

  7. Oloriel May 3, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    I indeed wish I was there! I will have to settle for vicariously visiting, thanks to your poem πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:54 am

      Happy to take you along for the ride. Smiling I am with my morning coffee today!

      Like

  8. AnnMarie Roselli-Kissack May 3, 2016 / 6:40 pm

    Lillian,
    did I ever mention that my mother-in-law moved from Navajo Dam, NM – what big sky out there, one can truly appreciate God’s blank canvas. And the colors-pure magic when the sun moves up or down. What a spectacular sight it must have been to behold those ‘spectral’ balloons against all that crystal blue.
    Your poem here perfectly echoes all that beauty while digging into a longing of one not airborne while others ascent sky bound.
    Lovely
    am:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:56 am

      Did not know that about your mother-in-law. I think that would be tough to leave those open spaces — similar to someone who’s lived by the oceans all their lives, or the mountains. So very very glad she has you for a daughter-in-law! πŸ™‚
      How are the college plans going? I’m sure kids go to school nowadays armed with much more than a little Smith Corona portable typewriter and an illegal popcorn popper! πŸ™‚

      Like

      • AnnMarie Roselli-Kissack May 4, 2016 / 11:53 am

        she originally hails from NJ – moved southwest about 18 years ago – she went for the art, my father-in-law went for the San Juan fishing
        it was most difficult leaving the Big Sky – we’ve tried to make her feel back home here – my house is very representative of the southwest in decor now, as her precious items have bumped mine (by choice:)) to give her more peace of mind…baskets, dream catchers, Navajo patterns and stained glass as many places as it can hang:)

        college plans are moving along
        we’ll be taking Caroline for orientation soon
        and I do promise on one of my visits, I will hop on that train when I’m able to build extra time around the visit:)
        lol I loved my hot air popper and hot plate – how crazy were we all back then – I’m surprised every campus didn’t catch on fire
        am:)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Bodhirose May 3, 2016 / 7:11 pm

    What an adventure, Lillian, loved your hot-air-balloon-in the-desert story! When my husband, two daughters and I lived in an apartment just outside of Orlando, we one morning heard a strange, loud, whooshing noise and went outside on our balcony to see what it was and a hot air balloon sailed just feet over our roof top. It may have gotten off track…certainly they’re not supposed to fly that low! :O

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 7:59 am

      That’s really a distinctive noise, right? In our Iowa days, summer always brought the occasional hot air balloon over the fields near our house. Our German Shepherd dog “heard” them WAY before we did and would hide under the table cowering. We always knew then to go into the backyard and watch for the hot air balloon that would come into sight! The only other time he did that was with thunder — and we heard that at the same time. Glad you enjoyed the poem!

      Like

  10. Charley May 3, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    Your poem brought me back to a place where I used to live… but not in the desert. Balloon tours would load up across the road from our apartments in the morning. You captured it exactly — showing, not telling. Great job! Charley

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 8:00 am

      Good morning, Charley! Enjoying my first morning cup and reading your reply here. So glad you enjoyed. And I do appreciate the very nice compliment here — showing, not telling. That’s got me grinning ear to ear πŸ™‚ Wonderful words to see!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Candy May 3, 2016 / 11:20 pm

    I’ve been to Albuquerque many times but never made it to the balloon festival. Thanks for taking me there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 8:02 am

      Happy to take you for the ride. If Albuquerque is in your plans again — arranging the trip during this amazing festival would be fantastic — I promise! But you do have to get up really really early to have the full effect. Just seeing the logistics of how they signalled them up — row by row — was incredible!

      Like

  12. kim881 May 4, 2016 / 3:30 am

    What a gorgeous phrase: ‘Floating quilt of primary colors’. I’ve never been to Albuquerque and probably never will, and I’ve never seen a balloon festival, but you have brought this scene to me so vividly, I would love to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 8:03 am

      Smiling I am, over my first cup this morning. Painting pictures with words — since I’m terrible with a brush — so glad you could visit this scene with me! πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed and yes, if you ever get the chance to see a hot air balloon festival — it is truly breathtaking!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. lynn__ May 4, 2016 / 7:56 am

    What a colorful scene you paint here of the balloon festival…we occasionally see one fly over our farm but never a beautiful sky full, eyeful ! Thanks for taking us there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 8:05 am

      Happy to fly with you in this poem, Lynn. Glad you enjoyed! I really love seeing these majestic things floating in the sky — and to see a field of them rising — it was remarkable. But — truth be told — I have absolutely no desire to get into a basket and fly that way —- I prefer looking up….even though the poem is from the persepctive of someone who wishes they’d gone aloft. A bit fictionalized in that wishing at the end.

      Like

      • lynn__ May 4, 2016 / 8:58 am

        I imagine much of our poetry is mix of factual and fictional πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Patti May 4, 2016 / 11:26 am

    The balloon festival in Albuquerque is amazing. Your words echo how I felt as I watched. I so wished I were up there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 4, 2016 / 11:39 am

      Glad to transport you back there! πŸ™‚

      Like

  15. Misky May 4, 2016 / 3:11 pm

    What an extraordinary sight!

    Like

  16. Victoria C. Slotto May 4, 2016 / 5:53 pm

    An experience we also share in the high desert of Reno–you have caught it and your words rise with those beauties.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Bryan Ens May 4, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    Beautiful! I love the photo…the vivid colors against the brilliant blue is stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 5, 2016 / 8:59 am

      Glad you enjoyed, Bryan. πŸ™‚

      Like

  18. festivals4fun March 13, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    Real nice poem and the image is amazing as well. Really want to go to one of these festivals sometime, but don’t think I’m brave enough to get into one of those things. I always hear horror stories about them hitting power-lines and the people screaming in horror as they fall to their deaths. Not a good way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:29 pm

      The sky was a cacophony of colors!!! An amazing sight to see! πŸ™‚ Ditto — in terms of me not wanting to ride in one — just gazing was good enough πŸ™‚

      Like

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