Spare Hot Air

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I love the colors and shapes of the Great Reno Balloon Race. Every September, at the base of the mountains leading up to Lake Tahoe, the sky fills with hot air balloons from all over the country.

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At Dawn Patrol, balloons begin inflating in the morning darkness. Close your eyes and it sounds like dragons breathing as the balloons awake from their limp demeanor and stand upright from baskets on the grassy pitch. Only a handful of balloons are qualified to fly in the dark. They glow with light and take flight like khom loy.

The sun appears on the horizon, silhouetting the distinct shapes of balloons awaiting take-off. A fly-over signals the beginning of the Mass Ascension. One by one, the balloons release and float off. By mid-morning the view above is filled with color, like teardrop gemstones hanging in the sky. Simple, elegant, spare, stunning.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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