Balloon | East Wenatchee, WA | 2013

Give a fresh helium balloon its freedom and — zip! — that sucker’s airborne. But wait a day, after its skyward urge has waned, and it’ll hover at eye level with an expectant tilt to its big bald head. What now? it seems to ask. I once tracked a loose balloon in our fenced back yard. Its impulse to soar was anchored by the thinnest of connections, but that dangling string was enough to foil any high-flying desire. All day, the balloon wandered the fence perimeter, inspected the gates, peeked over at the neighbors, and finally stood silent for hours on the patio. I couldn’t bear its quiet torment, so I cut off the string. The balloon hovered unsure for a moment, then caught a breeze, nodded farewell, and was gone to the heavens.