I wish I were less scared of heights than I am. Granted, acrophobia probably kept our predecessors from running over a cliff to escape a saber-tooth tiger, and even today, it has its uses. I will never be killed in a hang-gliding accident. I will never fall off the side of a mountain or die because my parachute won’t open. My fear of heights keeps me from taking unnecessary risks. However, there is one thing I would love to experience, but my crippling fear of high places will never allow me to consider it.
I wish I were less afraid of heights so I could go ballooning during the leaf-peeping season. Every so often, between August and October, I see these majestic teardrops rising from their slumber along the I-91 corridor. I am in awe whenever I see them aloft, their precarious wicker baskets dangling beneath them. Sometimes they are low enough I can hear the woosh of flames rising upward and I’m transfixed as I watch the pilot guide his balloon through the air currents. The view must be spectacular, but if it is, I’ll never know. Although the idea of an aircraft you can’t steer gives me pause, and I’m pretty sure I’d be nervous about landing in the wrong place, my acrophobia keeps me planted on terra firma. There is little in my life that I regret, but when it comes to this fear, I wish I knew a way to overcome it so that I could touch the face of heaven from a hot air balloon.