It's the happiest week of the year in Albuquerque - the week of the International Balloon Fiesta. Dan and I have always gone to the first Saturday morning "Mass Ascension," but this year we didn't. Instead I wanted to go to one of the evening "Balloon Glows." Since our church congregation now has an afternoon, rather than an evening, service on Sundays, going to this evening's Glow sounded like a good idea.
I headed to the Park 'n' Ride area quite early. I wanted to get to the field in time to find a good picture-taking spot, get a bite to eat, and watch the sun set. The Balloon Glow event was supposed to start at 5:45 (inflation time, not lift-off), and there were going to be fireworks following the Glow. The bus driver told us that the first bus returning to our Park 'n' Ride area would be at 7:30 p.m.
I bought a hot dog and found a perfect spot eat it, to watch the event and to take pictures.
Then I started noticing how briskly the flags were flapping.
People began flying kites.
I saw the TV news crews packing up their trucks.
And balloon crews leaving the park.
Before long the field was nearly empty.
Wind and hot air balloons are a dangerous mix. The event had been canceled due to the wind. It was still early, about 5:30, and, you might remember, the bus driver had told us that the first returning bus would be at 7:30 p.m. I really didn't want to sit in the wind for two more hours, so I strolled over to the Park 'n' Ride area to see if there was any chance of getting an earlier ride back, due to the Glow cancellation. Unlike me, most of the crowd was staying to shop in the vendor tents and to watch the fireworks show that would start at 8:00. (Typically the wind dies down in Albuquerque once the sun sets, so the fireworks show would probably be a "go.")
I was told to wait in a holding area, and they'd find out what the plans were. A bus showed up, but it was going to the Intel Park 'n' Ride area, not mine, the Sagebrush Church lot. After some discussion between the bus driver and the line attendants, they came to tell me that the Intel bus would take me back to Sagebrush, since there were no Intel riders waiting. I was relieved, and grateful . . . and even humbled when I realized that the only people on that whole big bus would be the driver, a second bus attendant, and me!
I might venture out later in the week for one of the other Glows.
Or maybe not.