Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fire Balloons and Ray Bradbury...ahhh summer!

Buy here


As you may have known I am madly in love, in deep smit with Ray Bradbury and have been so ever since my mother gave me a copy of Dandelion Wine to read when I was in my teens. If you haven't read it, DO IT NOW! (Just lent one of my copies to the Alliecat, yes, that's right I own multiple copies of his books)

In 1974 Mr. Bradbury wrote a preface for the book and I will now share a portion of it with you...

"A final memory.

Fire Balloons.

You rarely see them these days, though in some countries, I hear, they are still made and filled with warm breath from a small straw fire hung beneath.
But in 1925 Illinois, we still had them, and one of the last memories I have of my grandfather is the last hour of a forth of July night forty-eight years ago when Grandpa and I walked out on the lawn and lit a small fire and filled the pear-shaped red-white-and-blue-striped paper balloon with hot air, and held the flickering bright-angel presence in our hands a final moment in front of a porch lined with uncles and aunts and cousins and mothers and fathers, and then, very softly, let the thing that was life and light and mystery go out of our fingers and up on the summer air and away over the beginning-to-sleep houses, among the stars, as fragile, as wondrous, as vulnerable, as lovely as the life itself.

I see my Grandfather there looking up at that strange drifting light, thinking his own still thoughts. I see me, my eyes filled with tears, because it was all over, the night was done, I knew there would never be another night like this.

No one said anything. We all just looked up at the sky and we breathed out and in and we all thought the same things, but nobody said. Someone finally had to say, though, didn't they? And that one is me.

The wine still waits in the cellars below.

My beloved family still sits on the porch in the dark.
The fire balloon still drifts and burns in the night sky of an as yet unburied summer.

Why and how?

Because I say it is so."


Allie Hampton said...

Wow those pictures are gorgeous!!!!!!!!! I want to go to there! I started reading the book yesterday and I really like it so far!

The Body Electric said...

YEA!!!! I'm so glad!!!! It really moved me in so many ways as a kid, I always hope it does the same for others!


Love ewe! (Baaaa)

Micha Merrick said...

Soooooo beautiful! I love fire balloons.
Once my friend and I built one out of a clothes hanger, a plastic shopping bag and a bundle of cotton soaked in gas. It was really magical(although less elegant than the ones pictured above), until a stiff wind blew the whole thing into the roof of his parents house! I was sure the house was going to go up in flame, thankfully it did not.

The Body Electric said...

IN GAS!?!?!? AAAAAAAAH!!! It must have been astounding while it lasted though!!!! WEEEEE! ;-)

Yeah, where we live it's dry and dead most of the year so we aren't allowed to do such things here, our whole town would go up in flame.


Wow.....I have never read anything by Ray Bradbury....That was a Beautiful excerpt .....It Conjured many forgotten memories of my Great Grandfather.......Haunting memories, I wish i could get back to some how.....and relive.....and spend time with those old Ghost that are long gone now........My Grandfather had a ranch.....I hear it has change much over the years,and is said to no longer resemble the home it once was since his passing......I dont think I will ever go back to it....I would rather remember things my own way.....The way it was when I was a child.......
seems like......our grandparents.......are the end of an empire..... The end of an era......its strange, and sad to think that......They are the last Architects, and Artifacts of this Christian Nation.....I feel blessed to have Known some of those Good old Timers....the simple, and wholesome men and Women of my youth....who shared with me there wisdom, patience, and love..............

The Body Electric said...

I will get you a copy ASAP. A lot of his stuff seems right up your alley.

Yeah, crazy to think of what that generation saw, the Great Depression, World War 2, on and see the world change so drastically in their lifetime, must have been amazing and at times terrifying as well.

Thanks for sharing Marcus.