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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Pin It I was driving to work the other morning when I noticed the hot air balloons. There were a few of them rising on air currents above the awakening city. To those still a slumber, these vestibules of flight slipped silently over their homes, reminiscent of dreams. The orange cream of early morning light broke though the malt-o-meal, candy floss clouds, and glinted off of their great, curving sides.

In watching through my windshield, it didn’t take long to surmise that some of these balloons were ascending to greater heights than the others were; though they were all riding upon the same air.

Why was this? I wondered. If I were captaining one of those balloons, I’d take it up as high as it’d allow, and enjoy every vista it afforded to me for as long as I possibly could.

I continued on my drive to work, balloons drifting in and out of my thoughts all morning.

As school began and my students entered the classroom, I at once noticed several different ‘altitudes’ to the children who arrived that morning. While most of them were buoyed up with the exhilaration of a new day, and the thrill of being in school; a few others entered half deflated and drifted in at different levels throughout the room. I’m convinced that one of them had even popped his balloon, and had then since used the string to tether himself to the ground in an effort not to rise.

As I watched these different altitudes, it was glaringly obvious that each of them had made a conscious decision as to how high they were going to rise that day; it dredged to the surface of memory a bulletin board someone had put up in my middle school years ago.

Your attitude determines your altitude.

How true those words ring, even after a myriad of years, and a lifetime of experiences.

I thought about myself—about my own life.

Like those great creatures of flight I’d seen that morning, how many moments had passed when I had felt my spirits buoyed to the skies and still—allowed it to last only for the moment? How often had I made the decision to not fly free and unfettered to the heavens, but to plummet as Icarus, down to my own personal valley of consuming waves, wondering if I would ever find myself in the sun?

In a discussion with a friend of mine not too long ago, I made the comment, “The ground is a safe place.”

To this she replied, “Yes, it is, but if you don’t ever allow yourself to ascend to the skies, you will miss the amazing view.”

I think back to those celestial orbs ascending over the slumbering city and I decide that for now, I’ll rise.


Richard & Natalie said...

I won't look at a balloon the same way again. Thanks, I needed that today.

Gerb said...

If your attitude was an accurate measure of your altitude then I'd say you are always aloft. I also know at least one of your students who could likely remain aloft simply from the influence of your attitude in the classroom.

Rise on!

Teachinfourth said...

Natalie - I am grateful that these words were a good fit for someone else, mostly I find that they are suited perfectly just for me...hence, I write them.

Gerb - Both of these to whom are yours and Natalie's scrape the ceiling most days, I fear that if the roof were not there, they'd both float away...

mywest said...

The balloons I think of tonight...special to me as I saw them released into the heavens and witnessed one returning to Miya in a dream blog will never leave my memory. Still waiting for the altitude to lift me from my failing sad attitude.....

SO said...

Truth. I'm beginning to rise again after a long time of tethering myself to the ground.

Mamma has spoken said...

'Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours' is a saying that the principal at the local high school says every day to the students. I've used it several times and kept it as my motto. I might have to add your motto to it too. Kinda catchy!!

Corine said...

Wow! Great post! You are so right; attitude is everything! Attitude is truly what makes us rise, or fall.

I have sabotaged my own life so many times, simply by having a bad attitude about myself; I am through! Scraping the floor is nothing like soaring in the heavens!

PS. I do think it is human nature to be like those balloons, rising with the warm sun and falling with the cool of the sunset. How great it is to know that the warm sun will always rise again after each cold night; and that even though we fail to STAY afloat, and find ourselves sinking with despair at times - we too, can get back up and “rise and shine” at the start of each new day. :D Perhaps I'll post something recently I wrote about this.

PS Thanks for your great "Rise and Shine" example! :D

Teachinfourth said...

Dad - I think of those balloons often too; give it a little bit of time.

Shanna - You go, girl!

Bonnie - We really do make our own weather; we decide how we are going to feel for a day, not those around us. This is a good thing to remember. Thanks.

Corine - I already said what I wanted to before about AOGG on your blog, but it's so true...the sun will come up again tomorrow.

Thanks for coming by; thanks for commenting.

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