balloons from heaven

by bam

decidedly, they came from heaven. of that, we were unshakably convinced. God must have been wafting by, clutching bright bouquet of nine balloons, decided we needed a little color.
and of course we did.
who doesn’t need just a little bit of magic, a little bit of mystery dropped into an otherwise ordinary morning.
it was, of course, the little one who found them. traipsing down the path, on his way to check out the mountain of dirt that had been delivered just down the alley, he stumbled upon the inflated rubber bonbons, and he did the most natural thing a boy could do: he yelped.
it was the usual, mama, come, quick. but supercharged with sense of urgency.
sounded like something far more interesting than pulling weeds to me, so i loped. well, whaddya know. “oh, my gosh, those must be from God,” i said, playing with my little guy, who is far too innocent and far too trusting to realize i was sort of kidding around.
“do you really think God put them here?” he asked, wide-eyed.
“hmm, either that or some poor little kid was walking down the street, far, far away, and he stooped to look at a bug or maybe a rock, and he forgot that he was holding on to his balloons, so he let go just for a second, and whoosh, the balloons took off, took a little balloon trip, and now they’re tired, so they landed here.”
we both whispered a little prayer for the kid who might have stood there, tears washing down his cheeks, heart in his throat, watching the balloons get farther and farther from his hand, get smaller and smaller against the sky, until finally, tears stopped, specks of color no longer seen, the poor little guy and whoever was the big person with him, might have stopped, maybe for an ice cream, to sop up all the hurt.
and here we were, the ones who found the poor kid’s sorrow twisted, knotted, on the mirror that sticks out from the side of my little boy’s daddy’s car.
sometimes life is like that.
i felt rather convinced that we had stumbled onto some sort of serendipitous sky-shower, and we needed to take extra special care of those wayward balloons. so we brought ’em up close to the house. first we brought ’em in the house. but then we noticed they had a funny smell. we realized those balloons had taken quite a journey. and they might not have had access to a shower. or a good hot meal.
“yuck,” said my little one, as he carried them outdoors, where they spent the night, harbored by our house. free to go if they so chose. but they didn’t budge. except to wiggle in the breeze.
this whole thing made me think of the poor little guy down the block, who had a most beloved stuffed cat. and, one day, a helium-filled balloon.
now this is a kid, the one with the cat and the balloon, who likes nothing so much as a science experiment. or a story oozing with imagination.
so he was in the midst of pretending his little cat was an astronaut, and he tied the balloon onto the most beloved, slept-with-it-every-night cat’s back, and, yes, you know right where this is going. the little cat, the red balloon, both, escaped, went skyward. faster than the little guy could catch it. could leap from launch pad, wrap hands around beloved cat’s tail, clutch him in the nick of time, save him from a dismal end on the wrong end of itinerant balloon.
that’s about when we came upon that sorry scene. experimenter aghast, in tears. mother, father scrambling. trying to get the drift–of what had happened, as well as where the wind was blowing.
we all set out, running, dashing, trying to figure out if we were balloons, carrying a kidnapped cat, which direction we would blow. we covered the neighborhood. we put up signs. someone had the bright idea of launching yet another balloon, this one with a note: “if you find golden-striped cat tied to red balloon, please call….”
as if one balloon would copycat another.
a balloon, i tell you, is apt to get into all sorts of trouble.
i don’t think i’ve ever before been on the finding end of someone’s heartbreak. not balloon or boy, not anything.
and, small as it is, it did add quite a tingling note to the day: something bright and beautiful fell from the sky, and twisted itself into the midst of our ordinary morning. all day, we watched the sleeping balloons, watched over them for the treasure that they are.
and besides, no one told my little guy they might not be from God. so he is under the distinct impression that God, for no good reason, drops bright balloons in your otherwise humdrum day.
which, come to think of it, is pretty good theology for a boy not yet out of kindergarten.
geez, i sure hope no one whispers in his ear that they might just be escapees from some real estate open house a few sorry blocks away. that would sorta take the air right outa this little story, now, wouldn’t it?

friends, forgive the littleness of today’s meander. i was just captivated by these wandering balloons, and swept up by the possibilities of how they landed in our laps. sometimes filling your head with little not-so-important mysteries is a delightful way to while away a few hours. have you ever stumbled upon someone else’s lost treasure? what sort of stories did it trigger in your sweet head? were you able, in any way, to come to the rescue of some broken heart and return the treasure?

as always, ‘tis monday, lazy susan spins afresh.

and, this just in from the international news desk: the table, thank you, is now transcontinental. our fine friend bgt moved to london a little while back, carried us in her trunk, and over the weekend posted on the case of the pink streaked heap, thus, she pulls up a chair across the pond. seems to me yet another treasure landed in our laps…