Monday, January 28, 2008

A flight of fancy for a wayward hot air balloon

A flight of fancy for a wayward hot air balloon
by Julia Tosti
Special to The Friday Flyer

It was a beautiful morning, one of those mornings where the fog had rolled in sometime prior and settled, nestled in the valley and hugging the lake, giving it a mystical feel.
My husband and I enjoy a beautiful view from Tuscany Hills. We moved here two years ago from Orange County and have never tired of the endless beauty that surrounds our home.
From the back of our home, we have views of Canyon Lake, Mount San Jacinto, Big Bear and, far to our left, Mount Baldy. We watch hawks soar high and ducks and white cranes take flight from Canyon Lake to Lake Elsinore. It seems every morning the view is visited by a new guest that perpetuates this never-ending cascade of attractions. Today was no different.
We sat sipping on our coffee chatting and discussing the day’s tasks. We conversed about the beauty of the mountains, the mystical feel to the lake and today’s surprise guest, a hot air balloon. Typically balloons float toward Menifee, hovering high above the valley east of Canyon Lake, but today’s visitor seemed to be moving in our direction, approaching the lake.
Our excitement heightened as we watched the balloon, seeing the colorful fabric come into clearer view. At this point I decided to document this visitor and ran to get our camera. As the balloon continued to move our way it seemed to be picking up momentum; all the while, I was clicking away with our camera.
The balloon sailed over the lake, coming closer and closer and losing altitude. Our chatter turned to silence as we watched, stunned by the sight. Slowly at first, but then more rapidly, the balloon started to descend until it looked as though it was sitting on the lake. We strained to see if it had actually landed on the lake, wondering out loud if we should call 9-1-1 or the lake “coast guard” or someone! Just as we were about to dial the phone, the balloon started to rise. Slowly at first, then faster and faster until it was high in the sky. Up, up and away it went over our house, continuing to float until it was out of our sight.
Wow! We love this area – what a great place to live! It seems we are always seeing something of beauty or excitement outside our back view – and this was the icing on the lake, I mean, cake!

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