Strong winds recently brought a strange looking object bobbing from one of the tall branches of a tree – too high to see properly amid the foliage. A few days later another gusty wind swept it down to catch in the Cape Honeysuckle hedge.

Picture a happy gathering celebrating the imminent arrival of, or the actual arrival of, a baby girl. There were drinks, eats, gifts and decorations galore. The mood was light, happy, anticipatory, joyful … then the wind gusted through the garden sending table cloths flapping, flower arrangements toppling over and scattering paper serviettes across the veranda and onto the lawn. Guests gathered what they could in a flurry of movement and made to move indoors.

A particularly strong gust of wind tugged and played with the bunting and pulled at the balloons bobbing about in clusters. Some popped and hung limply from their strings.  Others were untied to be brought inside. There was one particularly tough one that bounced and strained at the end of its long thread. The wind did its best to tug at the balloon and pulled it this way and that. The balloon flew up and circled down, twisting and turning as it did so. At last someone came to rescue it as it was one of the most beautiful there, a special one that could adorn the crib of the new-born for some time perhaps or cheer up a corner of the lounge as the young couple awaited the arrival of their daughter.

Too late! Before the fingers of the would-be rescuer could grasp the string, the wind tugged it free and the balloon floated ever higher until it blew over the tops of the trees and followed the unseen currents of the sky. It crossed houses and gardens, frightened a few birds as it went, nearly got caught on the power lines and teasingly caught the attention of children way below and far away from the party. It got battered and bashed against trees and bushes and sank ever lower as the wind lost its breath … and eventually landed in our garden!

Balloons lend a festive air to birthday parties and celebrations of every other kind. They were commonly made from rubber and are now also manufactured from latex and foil. Apart from blowing them up by breathing into them – hard work for some – they can also be filled with helium. Every balloon that goes up must come down somewhere.



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