My heart raced with excitement as the time came to get off work. I raced to pick Wyatt up and we headed down to antelope island. My mother sitting next to me in my car and one of my sisters sitting and playing with Wyatt in the back as we sang to the oldies on the radio.
We travelled the half hour or so to the island and drove the long causeway over the lake looking out our windows to the gorgeous sight of sun flowered covered fields. We talked about the up coming anniversary of 9/11 and laughed at the radio commercials.
When we finally arrived to the part of the island which was hosting the festival we jumped out the car in a dusty field surrounded by mountains and those never ending sun flower fields. As we got closer we saw the salt glittering off the lake and booths filled with kettle corn, scones, snow corn and craft junk you’d only buy at one of these things. We heard the off tune local singers belting out the songs they made up and watched the kite show.
Wyatt dug his hands into the sand finding sticks to help him with his efforts. While we earnestly tried to find shade to sit in. We bathed our selves in the atmosphere of the crowd as we patiently waited for the time when they’d blow up the hot air balloons.
The wind wasn't in their favour so the time was pushed back further and further all the while the clouds disappeared with the sun setting.
Finally they started to set up one hot air balloon as the others were just going to travel towards us. We gathered around as I had one hand on my shutter and the other holding onto Wyatt.
As the balloon grew the crowd grew along with it. Afraid that Wyatt would get lost I put my camera down and held onto him instead.
The flames blew hard into the balloon filling it with air and you could feel the heat on your face. With every light the crowd grew bigger and soon before you knew it the balloon was standing but all I saw was the faces of the crowd. I turn around a little disappointed to see the other balloons slowly approaching us. I ran with Wyatt on my shoulders to my camera bag that my sister and mom where watching as the sat in the shade. I had to change my lens and feared I had no time.
Wyatt laughed as he bounced on my shoulders. When I finally reached to decent spot to capture the balloons the light was gone, the clouds were non existing, the fields looked like dead grass and Wyatt would not let me take his picture. I stay anyway in that field. While my shutter clicked Wyatt played unenthused with the dirt and I sighed with the disappoint I felt. My vision surly changed from when I was at work to now. The balloons flew over us Wyatt screamed with delight grabbing on to me and I smiled.
We walked slowly back to where my sister and mom where stopping only to purchase a snow cone and I listened to Wyatt’s version of the balloons. He described how big they where, how they floated in the sky next to the birds. He talked about how the people riding inside them waved to us and how bright the colors where on the balloons.
I missed all that because I planned ahead of what it would be like and got my hopes up when it didn't turn out that way. But here was my son who I thought wasn't paying attention since he was just digging in the dirt showed me that it is in the way you perceive it and you just got to make the most of it.
(since the balloons didn't turn out they way I thought I make them be what I wanted instead.)
When we got back to our seats I sat differently. I took in what was happening instead of what I wanted to happen. I sang along with my mother and sister to the Neil Diamond cover band and laughed when he did ridiculous dance moves.
It grew dark so we quickly found a place in the sun flower field to watch the fireworks and I turn to look back to the festival I saw the excitement I yearned for.
The crowd chanting “one more song” to a normal guy acting as if he was indeed Neil diamond, the sky filled with stars and that one balloon still crowed with people shirking with delight when they lit the fire to keep it a float.
Then it was time. The fireworks lit off but for me the moon stole the show. I left that festival with a little more love for my son because he teaches me again just how to be a kid.