Outdoors: “The View from Above”

Of the many adventures I’ve had in life, the balloon ride described in my July 7 article, “The View from Above,” definitely ranked among the most memorable. The serenity and peace I felt as I rode the wind at 6,000 feet have been matched, in my experience, only by the serenity and peace triggered by snow falling in the pines one magic Christmas Eve when it was so silent you could hear the snow crystals being formed.

You’ve known such moments too, those still, quiet times when something reaches clear through you to the very essence of being. Often, they arise from the simplest of events: staring at your newborn child, connecting with a new friend or even just napping with a beloved pet.

Those were the sensations, the emotions — the sheer joy of being alive and recognizing that “aliveness” in every cell and fiber of my being — that I wanted to share with readers. I wanted them to vicariously share that aerial ride and know some of that same awe, that same immanence.

My wish for you in the coming year? May you have many such moments. — Jerry Nelson, photographer

“Slipped the surly bonds of earth … and touched the face of God.

These words from an old poem — made famous by President Ronald Reagan during a eulogy for the astronauts who died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion — became real for me recently when I had the opportunity to go aloft in a hot-air balloon.”

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